20 new officers for Suffolk as council tax rise for police funding approved
PUBLISHED: 15:42 31 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:04 31 January 2020
Council tax bills in Suffolk are set to rise after an increase in the share of policing funding was approved.
The 4.69% precept increase will add £9.99 per year to average council tax bills - around 83p a month - following a 12.7% rise last year.
From April, following approval by Suffolk's Police and Crime Panel today, the rise will bring the annual contribution to £222.75 for a Band D property.
The increase will fund another 20 officers, six investigators and nine police staff.
That is in addition to Suffolk's share of the 20,000 uplift of officer numbers nationally, with government funding for 54 new officers by the end of March 2021.
The money will create an additional serious crime disruption team to tackle the threat of county lines and other organised criminality.
A new commercial vehicle enforcement unit, which will enhance the way dangerous vehicle or driver offences are dealt with, will also be created.
Domestic violence and missing person inquiries are other key areas which will see additional staff.
A survey, which was based on an assumed 4% increase due to a delay in the Home Office funding settlement announcement for 2020/21 caused by the general election, received 957 responses.
The panel heard that 69% of respondents agreed with the proposal and 600 additional comments were received.
At Endeavour House today, the panel unanimously supported the recommendation to increase the police share of council tax.
MORE: Delayed funding news leaves police to consult on assumed 4% tax rise
Speaking after the meeting, Tim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner, said: "I am not, by nature, somebody who likes to put taxes up, I'd much rather we didn't have to do that.
"But I have to balance the difficulty, as police and crime commissioner, of looking after the safety of Suffolk and making sure the constabulary has the right resources in order to do more.
"Nobody likes to pay more but in the end I have to balance up that keeping people, homes and businesses safe and getting rid of criminality is really important, which is why I went for the maximum increase of £10."
The overall policing budget for Suffolk in 2020/21 will increase by £9.6million to £143.82m.
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Chief Constable Steve Jupp said: "I think the unanimous decision of the panel shows confidence in the comprehensive plans that we've put together in terms of how we can keep our communities safe.
"Linking that with the government's energy and drive around policing, the three-year uplift, I think it gives me as the chief and the constabulary the ability to deal effectively with things that matter in our communities.
"Our priority is keeping our communities safe and feeling safe and dealing with crime, and dealing with the perception of crime.
"Neighbourhood policing is still the bedrock of what we do. I know people are frustrated and want to see us more and more in towns and over a three-year period, it is absolutely my aim to get back to that place.
"Some of the plans that were in the precept that the public have commented on, and nearly 70% of people were happy to support that, is about giving us the dynamic ability to move resources around the county to deal with crime at all different levels that are important to people - and that's the visibility that people will see."
Mr Passmore added: "Last year's extra money for policing from the council tax has been very well used and the increased focus on organised crime groups, violence and county lines and illegal drug use has produced some stellar results.
"There is a page on my website which sets out exactly how last year's precept was allocated and the impact that it has had. I will be doing the same this year to show resident of Suffolk exactly how their money will be spent in this coming financial year."
Suffolk homeowners will also see an increase of 3.99% on the county council's share of council tax, meaning a Band B property will pay £40 a year more.
MORE: Police promise more proactive approach to crime fighting in 2020
In Essex, proposals would see the police precept increase by nearly 3%.
The proposals, which are set to be agreed at an Essex Police panel on February 6, would see an increase of £5.67 for a Band D household.
It means the annual bill is to increase from £192.96 to £198.63 for a Band D property, raising an extra £5.3million.
Essex Police will see an additional 151 officers - although most of these officers will be funded through the national uplift programme.
At the end of March 2021 Essex Police plan to have 3,369 officers, this is another increase in officer recruitment following on from the 368 additional officers recruited over the last two years.
This will mean that Essex Police will have grown by 519 officers since 2017/18.
Roger Hirst, Essex police and crime commissioner, said: "After this we will be back to the 2012 levels and the levels where we were successfully reducing crime across the country before, but we are not back to peak.
"And we need to recognise there are more complex crime and new crimes such as cyber crimes and we need to recognise particularly the population has grown and we continue to invest.
"But this is going to be powerful and strong enough to really make a difference."
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