More than 100 extra police officers could soon be deployed in the county if the proposals of Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) are approved.
Lord Willy Bach will present his budget plans to the Police and Crime Panel next week with the extra resources being paid for from an increase in Council Tax and £5.1M from the authority’s reserves fund.
If adopted, the plan will see 60 new patrol officers across the eight neighbourhood police areas, including the Eastern Counties area, which includes Melton.
There would also be 24 new detectives based in the neighbourhood police areas, eight new beat officers in the proactive teams dealing with current and emerging issues. eight new officers to tackle emerging crime on a proactive basis and seven new officers focusing on the crime which impacts the most vulnerable people.
Of the 107 proposed extra officers, it is expected that 80 will be recruited in the 2019-20 financial year, with the remaining 27 coming on board in 2020-21.
Lord Bach said: “People want to see more police in communities and this budget will enable us to recruit 107 extra officers.
“I’m delighted that we are at last in a position to see real growth in officer numbers, but I should be clear that this is only happening due to an increase in the police portion of the Council Tax and a hefty chunk from our reserves.”
Lord Bach said it was disappointing that the new resources needed to be funded by a 12 per cent increase in the amount local people pay towards policing.
In December 2018, the government made it clear that it expected Police and Crime Commissioners to increase the amount of Council Tax paid towards policing by £24 for a Band D household in 2019-20.
A survey, carried out by the PCC, found that over 70 per cent of respondents were willing to pay the increased amount in Leicestershire.
Thanking the public for its support, Lord Bach said he was determined to see additional funding from this increase invested in the things that matter most to local people.
He added: “It is hugely disappointing that the government expects local people to pay more towards policing but if I am to increase officer numbers I have no option but to raise the police precept.
“Local people are now paying the price for years of austerity, but PCCs have been left with no alternative.
“Even this will not solve all the financial challenges.
“Of every additional £24 raised, £14 will be used to pay for rising costs and overheads, leaving just £10 to invest in new resources.
“To protect our plans in the future I have agreed to use money from our reserves over the next four years.”
His report, which was published today, also includes proposals to reduce abstractions of frontline police officers and increase the amount of time they spend on the beat, and to maintain the number of PCSOs to 181.
Investment will also be made in technology to tackle crime and to support volunteers in policing, as well as introducing measures to speed up recruitment to the new posts and improving the quality of crime recording
Go online at www.leics.pcc.police.uk/Planning-and-Money/Finance/Budget-Information/Budget-2019-2020.aspx to see a full version of the report.