More visible policing with the help of extra Special Constables will be extended in Bedfordshire following approval of a proposed rise in the amount of council tax paid towards policing in Bedfordshire.
The Police and Crime Panel’s agreement to the Police and Crime Comissioner Olly Martin’s proposed 1.99 per cent increase last night (Thursday 6 February) will mean a rise of about 6p a week or £3.06 per annum for a Band D household.
Mr Martins said: “This rise helps us to continue my constant theme of addressing Force visibility.
“Recruiting more Specials - which follows on from the saving of the PCSOs last year - is an additional
activity that we would have to put on the back burner without this increase.
“The Chief Constable and I will do everything we can to avoid cuts to front line officers and as Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has noted we’re doing everything else we can to make savings.”
He went on: “There are very limited opportunities to further reduce expenditure after March 2015 without resorting to making significant cuts to frontline local policing.
“With reductions to police funding expected to continue, I proposed this council tax increase with a view to maintaining police officerand PCSO numbers and building up the number of specials and volunteers.”
Members heard that the budget had been built around the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan and considered by him and the Chief Constable to ensure that the Commissioner would be able to deliver the level of service the public expect.
They also heard that over the last two years, Bedfordshire Police has saved £15million from its revenue budget and needs to save around a further £8.50m over the next two years.
Taking into account the increase in council tax precept, savings of £4.85million had to be achieved in order to set the revenue budget for 2014-15 at £101.691million.
The 2014/15 financial settlement left the Force with £1million less funding than originally planned for when the Government’s Spending Review was announced in June 2013.