Yesterday, the Home Office announced the funding settlement for police forces across the country for the next financial year. In Thames Valley, this means an additional £5.1m in Government grant, an increase of 1.8%.
Alongside this funding from the Home Office, the Government has also allowed Police & Crime Commissioners to increase council tax by up to £15 (for a Band D property) in order to make additional investments in policing.
In Thames Valley, that would mean that for less than 29p a week for the average household, more than £14m could be invested in frontline policing.
Matthew Barber said: “As your Police & Crime Commissioner, I am aware of the ongoing cost pressures that many households are facing and I want to ensure that any rise in the policing element of council tax will deliver value for money.
“Despite funding received through central government, policing isn’t unaffected by increasing cost pressures and faces a difficult time to fund vital services. This year’s policing budget is set against a demanding economic environment with rising inflation, utilities, pay and fuel costs.
“By providing your feedback, you can help shape important decisions about police funding and how Thames Valley Police can continue to work to keep us all safe.”
Following an increase of 83p per month in council tax last year, which was below inflation, this has helped enable the following:
· Development of a specialist Rape & Sexual Offences team
· A dedicated team to fast track cases, reducing delays for victims and releasing officers back to the frontline
· Improvements in forensics to speed up investigations and bring more criminals to justice
· The continued recruitment of more officers, beyond the Home Office funded recruitment programme
· Continuation of the Rural Crime Task Force and the introduction of a Drugs Task Force
· Improving essential technological infrastructure and systems to better support service delivery
Matthew added: “I want to see increased investment in community policing and improving communication between the public and the police. Final decisions on council tax and the policing budget will be made at the end of January. By contributing towards my ongoing survey, you can help shape how Thames Valley Police continues to improve and tackle crime across our communities.”
The survey can be completed at https://survey.alchemer.eu/s3/90503915/OPCC-public-consultation or by visiting the PCC website. If you would like to share your views on the policing budget for 2023/24, please complete the survey by 12pm on Friday 13th January 2023.