The Police and Crime Commissioner has responsibility for setting the policing budget locally. Every year the Commissioner consults with local residents to ask for their view on the policing precept of the council tax and if they would support an increase to support policing.
Last year local support of an increase in the policing element of the council tax helped to make residents across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton safer, by funding:
- More call handlers to answer 999 and 101 calls with more calls being answered on time. 93% of people now get through to 101 compared with 83% in June and for 999 the rate is now 99.6%.
- The recruitment of more police officers, more quickly. On top of the 156 extra officers allocated from the national increase to Hampshire Constabulary, the Police and Crime Commissioner supported the force to recruit an additional 94 officers early (on top of the 156). The quicker the new officers start, the quicker the benefit is felt.
- Investment in officer wellbeing has kept sickness down, even in the face of COVID-19. The force is now consistently in the best five for sickness out of more than forty forces
- Investment in Country Watch enabling the force to take the fight to organised crime groups who go into farms and other rural communities to steal quad bikes and machinery to fuel and fund crime elsewhere in our force area.
Your support of the policing precept of the council tax last year also led to many new initiatives. Doing more of this in future years will help to keep communities safer but requires sustained investment and an increase in the policing precept of the council tax. This would achieve:
- Early recruitment of 50 new police officers, in addition to the 156 officers from the nationally funded allocation. This will mean more police officers to serve our communities far sooner
- Taking the fight to criminals, through targeted operational policing to take drugs and weapons off our streets
- Increasing prevention work further, including diverting young people away from crime. The work of Hampshire Constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioner protects vulnerable people and, crucially, also reduces serious crime. This frees up capacity to investigate other crimes, including in areas such as burglary and volume crime, which you have told me is important
- In the last year, innovation has played a huge part in getting justice for murder victims such as Lucy McHugh and Louise Smith. If Hampshire Constabulary can increase its forensic capability yet further (to keep pace with modern technology), they can get the evidence to bring more offenders to justice and stop reoffending
- Continued investment in police officer wellbeing to improve productivity yet further, which means more police activity.
The Commissioner and Chief Constable wants to keep and maintain all of this progress, and to do more of it.
Do you support an increase?
This year, the Government has given Police and Crime Commissioners the flexibility to increase the policing precept by up to a maximum of £15 per year (based on Band D properties).
In an early survey this year, Police and Crime Commissioner asked local residents from the Hampshire Constabulary policing area if they would support an increase. To date, 58% are in support of an increase.
The Chief Constable and her team have made a compelling operational case for investment in policing through an increase in the council tax. A 2.5% increase (10p per week) would enable the Chief Constable to maintain what was achieved last year. An increase above this, up to 7.10% (29p week based on a Band D property) would enable the force to build on what has been achieved, take the fight to criminals and to start to reduce crime.
Michael Lane, the Police and Crime Commissioner would like to seek your views on this year and ask whether investing more to help reduce crime to make communities even safer is something that you would support.
The Commissioner’s precept survey has now closed. His proposal will be presented to the Police and Crime Panel on 29 January 2021.