WARWICKSHIRE Police is set to have its highest ever number of officers by the end of this year.
The force is expected to be 1,100 strong within the next 12 months – there are currently 1,043 – but residents are going to have to pay the price.
Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe has launched his annual consultation on the policing budget, asking residents for their feedback on how best to meet the challenges facing police in the county.
Mr Seccombe wants to hear views on where people believe main priorities for spending should be placed, as he sets the finances for Warwickshire Police for 2022/23.
The consultation comes as the Government has confirmed funding is in place to support the continued recruitment of new police officers.
Aside from the core central grant from Government, just under half of the police budget is made up from Council Tax contributions, through the Police Precept.
And that means residents are going to have to dig deeper into their pockets at a time when household bills are spiralling.
In its settlement announcement, the Government gave Police and Crime Commissioners the flexibility to increase the Police Precept by up to £10 a year on an average Band D property – around 83p per month.
This equates to a percentage increase of 3.95 per cent and would raise around £500,000 more than a standstill budget.
Mr Seccombe said: “We have all been faced with rising costs, with the price of fuel, utilities and a wide range of our everyday purchases now much higher than in previous years, as the impact of inflation and other factors starts to take hold.
“The same is true in policing and across the public sector as a whole. The funding required to sustain our officer numbers and to buy the goods and services necessary to support the front line is continuing to increase.
“This all adds up to considerable cost pressures for Warwickshire Police. The budget I set next year must provide for increases in pay and National Insurance, as well as meeting the need to invest in the services such as IT, human resources, finance systems and the vehicles and buildings which will support our record 1,100 officers by the end of 2022.
“I know that these are not easy financial times for many households and that’s why it’s important I gather the views of local people and council tax payers as to whether an increase in the precept is justified and if so, what priorities it should be spent on.
“My aim is to seek a fair outcome which keeps taxation levels as low as possible while also protecting local services. However to do this, I really need people’s input so I can best understand where that balance may lie.
The consultation closes on January 17. Visit www.warwickshire-pcc.gov.uk to take the ‘Your Police, Your Views’ budget consultation.