Lord Willy Bach, Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has given a cautious welcome to the Government’s announcement on police funding for 2020-21.
Responding to the announcement Lord Bach said:
“Today’s announcement will be welcomed by those calling for more officers in on the streets and in our communities. I echo those sentiments. This is why I invested much of the increase in funding derived from the rise in the police portion of the council tax in 2019-20 in 107 additional officers.
“The Government’s uplift will see Leicestershire able to recruit around 80 more police officers in the 2020-21 financial year. They, alongside the extra 107 officers already in my budget this year, will help to increase police visibility and accessibility.”
Lord Bach goes on to remark that in 2006 Leicestershire had one officer per 430 residents. Today, with the cuts and significant growth in population, there is one officer per 600-plus residents and are required to tackle an increasingly complex set of challenges, risks and threats.
“Clearly we need to look at the detail of the settlement for Leicestershire but at first glance it appears that the Government expects PCCs to increase the amount of council tax paid towards policing by a Band D property by £10 a year. Depending on the property band this amount could be higher or lower.
“Personally, I believe more funds should come from the Government rather than the local taxpayer, but there is no escaping the fact that we need this increase. Without it we would need to take significant cost-cutting measures.
“The Government’s headline grabbing 20,000 additional officers is not all it seems to be. In addition to protecting our current position, there are the infrastructure costs associated with the increase in police officer numbers, recruitment, training, ICT, vehicles and equipment, and those non-salary costs are not captured in the on-costs of police officers.
“So, while I cautiously welcome today’s announcement I will wait until the finance team have had time to scrutinise it in full, and what it really means for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, before I present my budget to the Police and Crime Panel on 5 February.