Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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PCC pledges up to 130 new cops for a pound a month on council tax
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway has promised to recruit an extra 110-130 officers a year during her term as a result of a £12 per year rise in council tax in the county.

The Policing Settlement of December 2017 gave PCCs the right for the first time to raise the police share of council tax - the precept - by a pound a month for Band D homes without having to hold a referendum. This will apply for at least the next two years.
 
“I’m absolutely clear that if the burden for paying for policing has been shifted from Central Government to the local council taxpayer this year and next that it must pay for improvements which are both visible and welcome to the public. I am planning to recruit between 110 and 130 new officers per year for each of the next two years of my term as a result to boost Bedfordshire’s notoriously overstretched frontline,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“The intention is for the Force to raise the number of officers overall by 10% over the next four years, taking those who retire or leave into consideration too. I’m entirely certain that I have the backing of the public in this as in every single public meeting, from Shefford to central Luton, the community concerned has called for more police to strengthen Bedfordshire Police’s response to crime.

“This increase will come on top of virtually 10% extra officers who have been being introduced into Bedfordshire since I came into the role as Police and Crime Commissioner. There were just over a thousand when I arrived and I plan that there will be 1,224 as a result of the flexibility given to me with regard to council tax,” she said.

The Police and Crime Panel who hold the PCC to account voted to back her rise in council tax at a pound a month for Band D homes in 2018-19 and gave an informal indication through the Chair, politically independent member Paul Cain, that they would be likely to back her next year in raising the same sum to allow the Commissioner to proceed with further recruitment.

The Panel met at Luton Town Hall to reach their decision (Tuesday February 6 2018) by a majority, with two abstentions.

“I’m being given the right by Government to make these adjustments to council tax for the next two years only at this point but the Policing Minister Nick Hurd has told me personally that the historically unfair share for Bedfordshire Police of the national funding pot will be addressed at the time of the next Spending Review in autumn 2020. He has said the same in the House of Commons in a reply to South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous.

“Having fully evidenced the need for these officers - and more - to Government I fully intend to recruit as many as I can afford into the Force and expect the Government to deliver on its promise to produce a budget to support them from that point onwards. I have made this clear to the Home Office,” said the PCC.

“I’m meeting later this month with the Policing Minister, Mr Hurd, and the Security Minister, Ben Wallace, as I’m also asking for a share of the extra £50m for Counter Terrorism from the December Policing Settlement to bolster neighbourhood policing - as both vital eyes and ears on the ground and to further build bonds of trust with local communities - and also for help from the £93m Special Grant if possible. That's a contingency fund generally used to help forces in the aftermath of terror attacks or other serious emergencies but my view is that it should, logically, be used to prevent them wherever possible,” she said.

The new officers are intended to be destined for Community Policing, the Operation Emerald team who deal with rape, serious sexual offences such as Child Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Violence as well as Bedfordshire Police’s Cyberhub, to tackle online crime from fraud to the grooming of children. 

​For more information on the changes, please view The police share of council tax explained leaflet, which will also be included in council tax leaflets issued soon.