The budget for policing Leicestershire in 2018/19 has received the unanimous backing of its independent scrutiny body, thus securing 76 officer posts; boosting the number of investigators working on sexual assaults and enabling an investment in technology to improve efficiency.
Lord Willy Bach, Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, who presented his budget proposals to the Police and Crime Panel this week (31st January) said that the decision would strengthen neighbourhood policing which is what the public have told him they want to see.
“In considering my options, I was determined to lay safe foundations for future years, but the options available were not exactly plentiful.
“The government’s own calculations assume that Police and Crime Commissioners will raise the precept by £12 a year for an average property.
“The Policing Minister’s proposals to raise more funding for policing are not wholly unwelcome, but I am disappointed that the entire burden is to be placed on local residents without any increase from the central funding pot. However, I am tremendously grateful for the support I have received from local taxpayers indicating their willingness to pay more for police services.
“This budget sets out to address the key risks and threats to public safety and to meet the Chief Constable’s needs from an operational perspective. It will protect police service delivery for the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. It focusses on increasing the time spent on frontline policing and making officers more accessible to the public.
“I am also confident that we are clearly meeting the Minister’s own priorities. The budget report highlights our approach to the transparent and effective use of our reserves, the focus on improving productivity and efficiency and investment in digital technology to enhance mobile working.
“Having scrutinised my proposals in depth, the panel supported the budget and in doing so, approved the 6.41 per cent increase in the policing precept. It’s good news for policing and good news for communities.”
Chief Constable Simon Cole said:
“I am extremely pleased that Lord Bach has developed proposals that will enable us to dedicate more effort and resource in local, neighbourhood policing, and into tackling serious sexual offences and emerging crime types like cyber-crime.
“He has done so with the support of many hundreds of people who took part in a survey about the proposed rise in the amount of money local residents pay for policing, and with the full backing of the Police and Crime Panel.
“The budget will enable us to replace 52 officers as they retire that we would otherwise have not been able to afford to replace. We can also grow by 24 officers, with three going to each neighbourhood to look at cyber-crime, fraud, sexual offences and modern slavery. That means 76 officers more than we had expected.
“In addition we will gain four further sexual offences investigators, and add a positive action post to help us recruit a workforce that ever more closely represents our diverse communities.
“We will invest in middleware that helps our mobile kit work more effectively and in mobile fingerprint ID technology too.”
The net revenue budget for policing in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland 2018/19 has been set at £176.255m which includes a contribution of £5.058M from reserves.
The total amount paid towards policing by a Band D household will go from £187.23 in the current financial year to £199.23 in 2018/19.