More police officers are on Gloucestershire’s streets since council tax was hiked by 10 per cent in April, according to the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl.
In February, councillors backed police force proposals to hike Gloucestershire Constabulary’s share of the council tax by an extra £2 per month.
The change in the householders’ council tax bill came into effect from April 1, and Mr Surl has provided the first update on the where the extra money has gone.
The commissioner said an extra £1.7million has meant 30 more police officers and staff in neighbourhood policing and child protection teams have been recruited.
All frontline officers and staff are now equipped with body worn video cameras, Mr Surl said.
He added that by March 31 this year, the police had 1,062 police officers – eight more than its original target – meaning the force is “ahead of schedule” to recruit another 50 officers by the end of March 2020.
Earlier this year, the constabulary’s chief constable Rod Hansen made a direct appeal to Mr Surl, calling for the increase to ensure the force can battle serious and organised crime, remain visible on the streets and protect the most vulnerable.
In the letter, Mr Hansen said Gloucestershire is the eighth lowest funding county in the country.
It highlighted Gloucestershire receives £86.43 per head of population in core grant funding from the Government – against the national average of £121.02.
But Mr Surl said: “The financial situation is healthy.”
Explaining where else the money has gone, Mr Surl added: “The chief constable can call upon 161 Special Constables who contributed 41,000 hours of duty during the year – a significant increase on last year’s 31,000 hours – and volunteers.
“There is also a significant amount set aside to fund the Emergency Services’ Network and for further investment in the capital strategy.
“So, although the chief constable would always want more money to invest – who wouldn’t? – the financial situation is healthy.”
Where else the extra money will go:
- An increase in response officers
- An additional team of officers to crack down on serious drugs and violence-related crime
- More roads officers
- An increase in officers to roam town and city streets at the weekends
- More staff to help improve the Constabulary’s service to vulnerable adults