Police officer numbers in Cleveland are on track to reach the highest levels in several years, after an increase to the policing precept received unanimous support from an independent panel.
Cleveland Police and Crime Panel today (2 February 2020) unanimously supported an inflation-level increase of 1.99%, which equates to a £5.19 annual increase for Band D properties. This works out at 10p a week.
As 80 per cent of properties in Cleveland fall under Council Tax Bands A-C, the majority of residents will pay less than the 10p weekly increase.
Acting Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Lisa Oldroyd continues to challenge and fund the Chief Constable to recruit police officers more quickly than the Government’s national uplift targets.
The funds raised by this year’s precept will assist the Force to meet their plans to have over 1450 police officers either on duty or in training by March 2022. This means Cleveland will not just hit national targets a year earlier than expected, but exceed them by 65 officers.
If achieved, the number of police officers in Cleveland will have increased by over 250 in three years, which is an increase of over 20%. Numbers have not reached this level since 2013.
Recognising the financial worries many households are facing in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mrs Oldroyd opted for the lowest possible increase, whilst ensuring the Force is equipped with the resources to improve.
Mrs Oldroyd said: “I’m grateful to the Police and Crime Panel for their support.
“It felt most appropriate in the current economic circumstances that the increase is limited to £5 for a Band D property, as households across Cleveland feel the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.
“With a 1.99% increase, we will be able to support Cleveland Police to surpass Government recruitment targets and continue on their journey of improvement under the leadership of Chief Constable Richard Lewis.”
Cleveland residents were consulted on the police budget for 2021-22 in an online survey. More than half of respondents said they would be willing to pay more to support policing in their council tax.
Residents were also asked about the PCC’s statutory responsibility to commission and fund services to reduce crime, support victims and empower young people.
Of those surveyed, 63 per cent thought funding for such initiatives should be sustained or increased, with priority given to services providing care for adults and children affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.