Northamptonshire's crime commissioner bids to add £24 on your yearly council tax bill to employ more police
Stephen Mold is proposing an increase of around 50p a week towards the policing part of the council tax – £24 a year for a band D household - to fund improvements in policing in Northamptonshire.
From this increase, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) has asked that £3 million this year is specifically ring-fenced to improve police visibility and service in areas that the public has said are a priority.
This would be the second year in a row that the police budget has increased following the council tax levy. The force had a £130 million operational budget in 2019/20, which was up £11.6 million from 2018/19.
PFCC Stephen Mold said: “It is my duty to make sure that the chief constable has the resources to keep Northamptonshire safe and provide our residents with the service they rightly expect.
"A precept increase will allow the force to invest in providing an additional level of service to focus on issues that people have told us are important to them.
“I must take this opportunity to increase the budget while I can, to provide a strong base for the future when we can’t be sure how much funding will be available."
The Police Fire and Crime Panel will consider the proposed increase when they meet on February 5.
If the increase is approved, PFCC Stephen Mold and Chief Constable Nick Adderley will announce detailed plans for investing the extra funding early in April.
Plans are expected to include a significant investment in neighbourhood policing, including more dedicated police officers and staff. Mr Mold says the money could go towards improving the response time for victims of burglary.
Additional resources to tackle crime and bolster the rural crime teams to support policing in rural areas are also planned and there will be a greater focus on tackling street-level drug dealing and anti-social behaviour.
He added: “I do appreciate the support expressed by the public during our consultation and I have tried to provide more resources for operational policing by applying for grant funding - to tackle gang activity for example.
"I will make sure that this increase leads to a better service for local people and I will be working with the Chief Constable to demonstrate how improvements are being made.
“I still believe that the taxpayers in Northamptonshire carry too much of the burden for police funding. They pay a greater proportion of the total than taxpayers in other parts of the country, where the government grant makes up more of the overall budget. I will continue to press the Government to address that through the comprehensive spending review that is now taking place.”
This increase builds on additional funding given in the previous two financial years that includes investment in the investigation of domestic abuse and sexual offences and the funding of an additional 50 front line police officers and staff.
Despite the fact that 58 per cent of people who responded to the PFCC’s budget consultation said that they were willing to pay more for policing, Stephen Mold said the decision to levy the full amount of increase permitted by the Government was difficult.