ANOTHER tax rise is to hit already hard-pressed Warwickshire residents – this time to pay for 55 new police officers and five additional Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).
Warwickshire Police will raise its share of Council Tax by 3.85 per cent, a £9.75 per year rise for an average Band D property – a smaller increase than initially planned due to additional funding being secured.
The county’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) said the increased budget would enable the force to reach its target of 1,100 police officers – the highest in its history – while improving how crimes are investigated, and investing in police station front counters and other means of contacting the force.
The force’s new budget also includes investment into its vulnerability teams to improve responses to violence against women and girls, and the hiring of Evidential Review Officers to help increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for victims.
The Special Constabulary will be supported with new equipment and enhanced training, to increase the visibility of policing in local communities.
The budget will also fund the development of new computing systems to improve efficiency, while there will also be funding to support environmental sustainability improvements across the police estate and vehicle fleet.
There will also be increased resources for road safety and domestic and sexual abuse victims through increased Commissioner’s grants.
PCC Philip Seccombe said: “My budget will allow the Chief Constable to bolster our Safer Neighbourhood Teams further through the recruitment of five additional Police Community Support Officers, who will be deployed across each of the boroughs and districts in the county. Their role will be to boost policing in our town centres, particularly in the places identified by women and girls as areas they feel unsafe in.
“I’m also putting an additional £50,000 into my grants scheme to support important projects in crime prevention, community safety and to reduce re-offending – helping to ensure as many projects are supported as possible.
“Finally, I’m launching a £200,000 ‘Green Fund’ to accelerate the force’s investments in new infrastructure which improves environmental sustainability across its estate and fleet. While this will help Warwickshire Police to play its part in meeting the Climate Emergency, it will also help longer term financial sustainability through reductions in utility bills, for example through increased use of solar panels and more economic to run hybrid and electric vehicles.
“All of these additional investments will allow Warwickshire Police to improve the service it gives the public and address directly the concerns people have raised with me.”
The cost-of-living crisis is set to hit Warwickshire residents hard, with Warwickshire County Council having agreed a 3.75 per cent hike in Council Tax – equivalent to an increase of over £57 per year for a Band D household – and district councils also expected to raise their shares.
This is in addition to rocketing energy bills, a forthcoming rise in National Insurance, higher interest rates, and rising inflation.