Council tax bill has gone up for householders ahead of referendum on paying more for extra bobbies on the beat

Police Commissioner Olly Martins.
Police Commissioner Olly Martins.

Householders are footing a bigger council tax bill under plans to increase policing, despite a referendum on the tax increase to pay for extra cops not being held until next month.

Beds police and crime commissioner Olly Martins wants to raise the police portion of the precept by 15.8 per cent - or 48p a week for Band D houses.

A public vote - being held on the same day as the General Election - will decide if it goes ahead but council tax regulations means people are already paying the extra cash, which came into force on April 1 - the new financial year.

If the people vote ‘no’ on May 7 the precept increase will be just 2 per cent.

But if the result is a majority ‘yes’ vote, Mr Martins has pledged to use the extra cash to put more officers on the beat - 20 in Bedford Borough, 30 in Central Beds and 25 in Luton.

Another 25 officers will be used to increase the police team dedicated to tackling child sexual exploitation and cyber crime.

Without the extra funding, Mr Martins says it is likely that police officer and staff numbers will have to be cut in the future.

If the vote is ‘no’ then council tax payers will either receive a refund for the difference or a discount on subsequent months, depending on what the billing local authority decides to do.

For more on the referendum www.bedspcc.org