Cleveland Police will face no cuts to their services and will maintain recruitment of additional police officers, after the Police and Crime Commissioner’s proposed precept was supported by an independent panel.
Cleveland Police and Crime Panel last night (Tuesday 6 February 2024) unanimously supported an increase to the policing precept of 4.47% – or £13 per year for a Band D property.
The policing precept is the amount residents pay in their council tax towards policing.
With the majority of homes in Cleveland falling in the A-C tax bands, most residents will pay less than the 27p per week increase set by the PCC this week.
The increase is expected to raise just over £2.1m, which will fund an additional 48 police officers for Cleveland Police.
That brings the total number of additional police officers recruited in Cleveland since 2019 to over 300, reaching the highest number of officers since 2011.
Unlike some other police forces, Cleveland Police will also maintain the Police Community Support Officer (PCSOs) role and have boosted the number of support staff to ensure more warranted officers are on the frontline or in operational roles.
In late 2023, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) announced that Cleveland Police would exit their enhanced monitoring process – otherwise known as ‘special measures’.
The force had been engaged in this process since a HMICFRS inspection in 2019 graded the force as ‘inadequate’ in all areas of policing.
Chief Constable Mark Webster joined PCC Steve Turner at the Panel meeting to present the force’s current economic position and onward plans for the next 12 months.
Steve said: “I recognise that it is never easy to ask the public to foot the bill for policing in their area, especially at a time when many people are struggling with rising costs.
“However, Cleveland Police are at a crucial juncture in their improvement journey. They’ve made great strides over the last couple of years to come out of enhanced monitoring and focus on proactive, preventative work.
“It’s so important this momentum doesn’t stop there. To prevent any cuts to policing services and to maintain an ambitious programme of police officer recruitment, additional funds are needed.
“Ongoing contributions to police pay and pensions has unfortunately placed a strain on the budget for 2024-25. This budget will not only prevent any cuts – but will maintain ongoing police officer recruitment.
“I’m grateful to the Panel for their support as we establish a stable and secure financial plan for policing and crime in Cleveland.”
Cleveland residents were consulted on the police budget for 2024-2025 in an online survey and during face-to-face engagement stalls. Over half of the 800-plus respondents said they would be willing to pay more to support policing in their council tax.
Of those surveyed, 43.2% wanted to see additional officers used to address antisocial behaviour, which respondents identified overwhelmingly as their primary concern.
Drug-related crime and residential burglary were the next two most common issues highlighted by respondents.