Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa’s plans to increase police funding for Derbyshire in the next financial year have received a unanimous thumbs up from the Commissioner’s scrutiny body, the Police and Crime Panel.
The Commissioner presented his proposals for the budget, and associated policing precept, for policing and community safety in Derbyshire in 2019-20 to a meeting at County Hall, Matlock, yesterday (24 Jan).
Hardyal Dhindsa’s budget will enable police numbers to grow by 58 officers and 62 members of staff in the 2019-20 financial year. This increase in resources will be used to address issues of concern raised by the public as the Commissioner has visited towns and villages the length and breadth of the county and the panel praised him for his ‘listening approach’.
The budget will deliver increased visibility, a redressing of the balance of uniformed officers across the force area, enhanced road safety measures, greater investigative capacity and more support for vulnerable people.
The Panel is required to vote on the amount of council tax local people pay towards policing, known as the police precept. Having heard how the 12.5% increase will be invested, every member of the panel approved the proposal.
Hardyal Dhindsa said today: “I am grateful to the panel for its overwhelming vote of confidence in my plans. They made it clear that they were pleased to see how we planned to use the increase in funding this year and recognised the need to invest appropriately to tackle new and emerging crime areas, alongside those of greatest risk and threat to community safety.
“People want a visible and reassuring policing presence in their communities. I know that. I have been clear that I wanted to provide more officers but, until now, harsh funding cuts made that an impossibility. With the increase in the amount of council tax that goes towards policing, we are now in a position to put those plans into action.
“I remain disappointed that the Government has chosen to place so much of the burden on this year’s increase on local people, but this is the only option we have to put more officers out on the streets of Derbyshire.
“People will really be able to see and feel the difference, which I think is only right and fair.
“But, as I made clear to the panel, this does not make up for the £40m real terms cuts made since 2010. This cost us the loss of 400 police officers and around same number of police staff.
“To put things into context, from April 2018-March 2020 we will have recruited 145 additional officers and staff. This is a step in the right direction, not the final solution. That’s why I assured them that I will continue my calls to get the Government to invest in policing.”
The revenue budget for 2019/20 has been set at £181.016M, an increase of £11.846M over last year’s figure of £169.170M.
The Government has confirmed that it expects Police and Crime Commissioners to increase the amount of council tax paid towards policing by the maximum £24 for a Band D property in the coming year. This will take the total amount paid towards policing in Derbyshire by a Band D household to £216.60, a rise of 12.5%.