The amount people pay towards policing in the Thames Valley area will rise when the police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld presents his 2016/17 budget this Friday.
The budget was approved by the Mr Stansfeld after a meeting with the chief constable last week and includes a slight increase to the precept which he says will help support ‘key areas of demand’ including rape, child abuse and domestic abuse.
The PCC received notification of the Police Finance Settlement in December which, although was better than originally expected, did include a slight reduction in grant funding of 0.6%. To protect police funding in real terms the Home Office assumption was that all PCCs should increase the council tax precept by the maximum permissible level.
Commissioner Stansfeld is proposing a 1.99% increase in the police precept to the Police and Crime Panel which would be £3.26 per year (6p per week) for a band D household and sets the new band D tax level at £166.96 a year.
The Force claims to have delivered £71.7 million worth of savings over the las tfive years and says it will need to deliver another £15.6m of cash savings for 2016/17 to allow for investment in key areas and due to, for example, increases in employer’s national insurance and a recent ruling on overtime pay.
The proposed precept increase along with planned savings will help to fund 28 additional posts for the increase in demand within the Child Abuse Investigation Unit, seven new posts into the Oxfordshire Multi Agency Support Hub and assist in implementing improvements in ICT.
Commissioner Stansfeld said it is ‘crucial that we create a budget that is able to build and expand capabilities in key areas’.
“Although the budget does mean a slight increase in the amount local people pay I am reassured by the chief constable that this additional investment, along with the savings being made, will help to protect vulnerable policing and improve service delivery in the Thames Valley,” he said.
Chief constable Francis Habgood said: “Thames Valley Police continues to have difficult choices to make about how we allocate our resources.
“We continue to look at ways to transform delivery of our services. As a result we are able to better understand the changing demands our officers and staff face. This investment will allow us to have further resources to continue our work addressing our priorities.
“The Force is committed to keeping our communities safe and we will continue to ensure we maximise every opportunity to prevent crime, protect the public and bring offenders to justice.”