A rise in the police element of council tax is likely to be introduced in a bid to minimise the impact of Government funding cuts.
The police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Leicestershire, Lord Willy Bach, is proposing a rise in his upcoming police and crime plan, the first draft of which he has now presented to the police and crime panel, set up to monitor the commissioner’s activities.
Lord Bach said he had received “overwhelming support from the public” for the increase of two per cent.
He will also review all budgets, grants and commissioning programmes to ensure that the public receive good value for money.
During his presentation to the panel, Lord Bach revealed that he intends to focus on four key areas during his first term of office – visible policing, victims, vulnerable people and value for money.
He went on to say that in terms of crime reduction he believes in “prevention, prevention, prevention”. He stressed that he wanted to see the cycle of crime broken through preventative work rather than continually applying “a plaster” to problems.
Questioning the commissioner on his ideas, panel members welcomed the four core areas, which have been rapidly christened as ‘The Four V’s’. The final plan will be presented to the Police and Crime Panel at its February meeting.
Having listening to public feedback, acquired through face to face discussions alongside telephone and web-based surveys, the commissioner has identified several areas where he feels service delivery to the public can be improved.
These include protecting (as far as is feasible) the number of officers and staff employed by the force and expanding the support provided from the 101 non-emergency telephone number, enabling the public to speak to other agencies as well as the police, from just one number. He believes will provide better support for the vulnerable members of society who are at higher risk of crime and ensure they have access to justice.
He went on to say that he is committed to improving the support available for victims of crime, promising a review of victims’ services. To do this, he intends to work with victims’ groups and individuals to better understand their experiences and help him commission services more effectively. He has also promised to develop a Victims Strategy to drive continual development and improvement.
Commenting on his plans, Lord Bach said: “I believe my top responsibility is to work with the chief constable to prevent crime on behalf of all those who live and work in, or visit Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. But there is a lot more that we can do to improve the quality of life in communities.
“It’s clear to me that physically seeing a police officer or PCSO on active duty in the community is a fundamental factor to people actually feeling safe and this is something I will be doing my utmost to protect in the future.
“I also want to make it easier for people to contact public agencies who can help resolve community issues that are not the responsibility of police. This will help to reduce demand on police services and simplify the process for reporting non-urgent problems.”
Explaining his focus on prevention, the commissioner added: “We can look at crime in the same way as a health problem. We know certain factors increase the risk, so we need to tackle these early before the need for first aid. This plan is as much about stopping people from entering the justice system as it is about rehabilitating those already caught in the crime cycle.
“I’m incredibly grateful to all those who responded to my telephone and web survey. I’ve listened to these views and have laid out a path for improvement based on local opinion.”
The final Police and Crime Plan will be published on the commissioner’s website.