Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland will have 2,104 police officers by March 2021 under plans revealed today by the Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach.
The Commissioner will present his final budget to the Police and Crime Panel next Wednesday (5 Feb) when he will tell members that his pledge to increase officer numbers and police visibility has been realised.
The Commissioner has determined that 100 additional officers will be recruited during 2020-21 in addition to the 107 delivered through his 2019-20 budget. This is in addition to the 89 expected to be delivered as part of year one of the Government’s 20,000 officer uplift programme.
This will increase overall full time equivalent (FTE) officer numbers to 2,104 by March 2021.
The Commissioner’s budget will also enable Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) numbers to be increased by 20, taking the total to 201 FTEs by March 2021. The budget also includes a commitment to develop the digitalisation of policing in Leicestershire, something the Government has made clear it wishes to see.
Lord Bach said that local people wanted to see more proactive local policing in their communities and he was committed to delivering that in every corner of the county.
“People want community-based policing, providing solutions to the problems that they face in their neighbourhoods. They want to know their neighbourhood officers,” he said. “And that is what they are going to get.”
The net budget requirement for 2020-21 is £199.863m, which necessitates a council tax (precept) requirement of £76.829m for the year.
To raise this amount, the Commissioner is left with no option other than to comply with the Government’s expectation that police and crime commissioners will raise the additional funding necessary to balance the budget via the locally paid council tax.
The ministerial statement issued by the Home Office (23 Jan), said: “We also propose enabling PCCs to raise further funding through precept flexibility, subject to confirmation at the final Local Government Finance Settlement. We propose to empower PCCs to increase their Band D precept by up to £10 in 2020/21 without the need to call for a local referendum, the equivalent of less than twenty pence per week.”
Lord Bach is therefore recommending a Band D precept increase of £10.00 per annum for the 2020-21 financial year in line with the Home Office statement.
Willy Bach said: “The Government’s headline grabbing figures include the anticipated growth derived from local taxpayers via their council tax and fail to account for challenges such as growth in population, inflation and the ever-changing complexity of criminality.
“Whilst much has been made of the 20,000 police officers from Operation Uplift, even when – or if – these are all funded, recruited and in situ by 2023 we will still not be back to the numbers of 2010.
He explained: “Leicestershire police lost 550 officers as a result of the funding cuts. In 2006 we had one officer per 430 residents. Today, with the cuts and significant growth in population, we currently have one officer per 600-plus residents and we also tackle an increasingly complex set of challenges, risks and threats. The financial conundrum has not been solved yet!”
Willy Bach has been briefed on the current and emerging operational challenges, both nationally and locally, by the Chief Constable and has taken this advice in to account in preparing the budget for 2020-21.
Approximately 98% of the £199.863m will be allocated to the Chief Constable to safeguard communities and provide an effective and efficient police service across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. His own office budget for the coming year, of which 86% is staffing costs, is £1.32m.