Local Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews’ budget proposals have been approved to generate almost £11million in extra funding for policing services.
The police share accounts for about 13 per cent of the total Council Tax Bill with the remainder being made up of contributions to the county council, borough council and fire service, which have all yet to be officially set.
Mr Matthews, a Conservative party member, has been criticised by his predecessor, Lord Willy Bach, a Labour supporter, who said he was disappointed that his successor had disregarded his own proposals to use an increase in funding to recruit 100 new police officers in the next 12 months.
But Mr Matthews said he listened to feedback from a public consultation before drafting his budget and setting operational priorities for the coming financial year.
He said: “Over 72 per cent of respondents - and we had over 2,500 - voted to pay £10 a year more towards the sort of policing they want to see.
“That works out at 19p a week for more effective policing.
“This will include a better response to rural communities; state of the art technology infrastructure leading to improved communication between the police and the public; and more tailored support for victims of crime.
“Now I will scrutinise the implementation of my expectations to ensure that local people receive the type of local policing service that they have explicitly asked for.”
Mr Matthews outlined the improvements he wants to see in policing services across Leicestershire and Rutland, adding: “I expect greater visibility in the entire force area, with neighbourhood policing playing a major role across our city and two counties.
“I want to see the police working more collaboratively with local residents, listening and responding to the concerns raised in every community.
“Communications between the police and the law-abiding public must be improved.
“I am further determined that the work to tackle crime in rural communities will be strengthened.”
Lord Bach, who retired in May last year, left in place a medium-term financial plan to increase police numbers to 2,242 by April this year.
A further increase in officer numbers was planned for 2023, raising the total to 2,342 and restoring local police strength to pre-austerity levels, and he said the Police and Crime Panel had backed the approach.
In a stinging attack on his successor, Lord Bach said: “People want to see more police on the streets.
“I worked to fulfil this expectation from day one and left office with a viable plan in place to restore police numbers and rebuild public confidence after a decade of central government cuts.
“My successor has discarded this plan preferring to take local taxpayers’ money and hide it away for a rainy day.
“This astonishing decision does nothing for crime prevention, particularly in Leicester and in those parts of Charnwood and North West Leicestershire where local people worry about continuing levels of violence, antisocial behaviour and drug use.”
Residents in an average Band D property will pay £258.23 towards policing in their Council Tax bill from April.
The county council, which commands by far the biggest contribution to Council Tax, has indicated a rise of three per cent for the coming year, with this figure still to be approved.
Melton Borough Council wants to increase its share by £5 per resident although this has also still to be ratified.
The fire service has not yet finalised its budget to determine what contribution is required to support its services.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced today (Thursday) that householders in properties rated A to D will get a £150 Council Tax rebate for the coming year to mitigate an expected significant rise in energy bills.