Council Tax payers are to stump up extra cash in order to meet Bedfordshire Police’s £8m settlement increase this year, it has been revealed.
In an announcement earlier today, the force hailed the settlement as a victory for PCC Kathryn Holloway and Chief Constable Jon Boutcher.
But of the quoted £8m increase amount, just £1.3m has been granted by the government in extra core grant with an additional £1.1m towards pensions.
The remaining £5.6m will be paid by Council Tax payers, with the PPC raising the precept to the maximum allowed amount of £24 per year for a Band D home.
Mrs Holloway estimated that the additional money will be used to fund 160 new Police Constables in the coming financial year, with 100 more in each of the following two years.
She stated: “This is an achievement not only for me as PCC and my Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, who have so robustly and publicly made our case, but for the whole of ‘Team Bedfordshire’ – our MPs across party politics and especially Andrew Selous in the South West, who led the charge in Parliament!
“I also want to thank those in our town councils, like Biggleswade and Sandy, who, when I asked them to do so, wrote to the Chancellor to make their views known and every councillor and member of the public who supported us by doing likewise as they did not just criticise Bedfordshire Police, or offer just words, but action.
“This feels like the greatest achievement of my professional life to get this far – it’s certainly been the hardest battle – to land the arguments about Bedfordshire Police with those who hold the purse strings, especially as it comes less than a month after I won my unique £4.57m Special Policing Grant bid for emergency funding, to meet unprecedented costs already incurred by Bedfordshire Police, to fight gun, gang and knife crime.”
South Luton MP Gavin Shuker tweeted: “Good news that Beds Police is to get more funding – long overdue - and we now wait to see exactly what the PCC plans to do with that money and if it gets approved.
“Concerned it places additional burden on the local taxpayers of Luton though.”
South West Beds MP Andrew Selous added: “This is a wonderful early Christmas present for the people of Bedfordshire and a huge boost for our determined Bedfordshire Police officers.
“I look forward to the additional 360 officers that Bedfordshire Police will be able to recruit over the next three years with this funding increase.
“I also want to reduce the demand placed on the Police by mental health and social services issues as it is not fair to the public to expect the Police to have to deal with these issues to the extent they do.”
Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said: “We still need to fully analyse the figures to understand what this means for Bedfordshire Police, but any increase is encouraging and today’s announcement shows the government is aware of the financial pressures forces are under nationally.
“Ultimately this increase in funding will allow the organisation to grow.
“The ability to raise council tax precepts is a matter for our Police & Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway, but I’m sure she will want to explore this option to increase the number of officers we have on the front line in our communities.”