PCC Simmonds to create first police reservist scheme in mainland Britain and will freeze council tax contributions towards running Northamptonshire force

Police & Crime Commission Adam Simmonds.
Police & Crime Commission Adam Simmonds.

The new Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner today revealed plans to create the first reservist force in England.

Adam Simmonds, who has spent the past nine weeks since he was elected putting together his budget and policing plan for 2013-14, also revealed he had frozen the council tax precept for Northamptonshire Police.

Wootton Hall will have a budget of £123 million in the financial year from April, a slight increase on this year.

The plans for a reservist force have never been tried anywhere in mainland Britain, although there is such a system running in Northern Ireland.

Police Commissioner Simmonds also revealed more details about his so-called drugs eradication policy, which forms one of the key policy planks of his new administration.

Mr Simmonds said: “I will not increase the council tax precept, the amount a commissioner can raise from local taxes. I cannot expect hard pressed families to pay more at this time.

“Despite that, the budget will mean there will be no fewer police officers in Northamptonshire. The current numbers of officers will remain at 1,220. Police budget funding of police community support officers will remain at the same level.”

Mr Simmonds said he was preparing to use money, which had been set aside by the now defunct police authority as part of an “aspiration” to raise police officer numbers, to instead set up the reservist force.

He said the funds available to increase police officer numbers were “unsustainable” beyond a couple of years. Instead, Mr Simmonds said he was to set up the pioneering reservist force.

The commissioner said: “New investment will increase numbers of police cadets across the county, expand numbers of special constables and launch a paid, on-call police reserve of up to 200 people.

“All of this will add to visible policing, something which local people have told me they want to see.

“And there will be significant investment in aspects of policing which are not so visible, including child protection, anti-terrorism and work to improve the ways victims of crimes are treated.”

Mr Simmonds said he wanted to launch a “pilot” in a town in Northamptonshire to assess the impact new drugs schemes can have on communities.

Launching the office of drug eradication, he added: “I am saying that we need to get ahead of the game, get up stream and start trying to figure out why people take drugs in the first place and get involved in that process.”

Mr Simmonds will publish his full budget tomorrow.

He will then be quizzed on it by the county’s new police and crime panel next week.