A new budget for policing has been agreed which is set to deliver 55 extra police officers and five more PCSOs for Warwickshire, along with improvements to way in which crimes are investigated and the visibility and accessibility of Warwickshire Police to the public.
The increased budget by Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe will enable the force to reach its target of 1,100 police officers, the highest establishment in its history. It will also allow for investment in enhanced services to contact the force, including through face-to-face facilities such as police station front counters.
A strengthened response to violence against women and girls will be provided with investments in the force’s vulnerability teams to build extra capacity and capability. Warwickshire Police will also employ Evidential Review Officers to help deliver improvements in investigative standards, increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes for victims.
The Special Constabulary will be supported with better equipment and enhanced training, to further support the work of Safer Neighbourhood Teams and increase visibility of policing in local communities.
The budget will also fund continued development of the new ICT systems being used by Warwickshire Police to ensure the workforce is working in the most effective and efficient way possible, while there will also be funding to support environmental sustainability improvements across the police estate and vehicle fleet.
There will also be increased resources for road safety and domestic and sexual abuse victims through increased Commissioner’s grants.
The draft budget was initially presented in late January but following feedback from the Warwickshire Police and Crime Panel and finalisation of the numbers of households paying Council Tax, Mr Seccombe has been able to confirm additional funding for the force, while also being able to set a smaller increase in the Police Precept element of Council Tax than originally planned.
Mr Seccombe said: “The original projections for how much money would be raised through Council Tax that we received from the billing authorities were lower than the final figures we received, effectively meaning there was a greater amount of money available to support the budget than had initially been planned.
“This has given me the flexibility to set a final budget which contains some additional benefits to the public, while also ensuring that the increase in the Police Precept is among the smallest in the country and remains considerably below the rate of inflation.
“I think it is right that some of this funding is used to reduce the impact of the increase to the Police Precept, at a time when cost of living pressures are being felt by many households. At the same time, I want to ensure that Warwickshire Police is able to deliver as widely as possible on the improvements that the public wants to see, while also having a sustainable future with smaller savings targets.
“My revised budget will also allow the Chief Constable to bolster our Safer Neighbourhood Teams further through the recruitment of five additional Police Community Support Officers, who will be deployed across each of the boroughs and districts in the county. Their role will be to boost policing in our town centres, particularly in the places identified by women and girls as areas they feel unsafe in.
“I’m also putting an additional £50,000 into my grants scheme to support important projects in crime prevention, community safety and to reduce re-offending. I have been heavily over-subscribed this year with applications for funding and this additional money will help to ensure that as many projects are supported as possible.
“Finally, I’m launching a £200,000 ‘Green Fund’ to accelerate the force’s investments in new infrastructure which improves environmental sustainability across its estate and fleet. While this will help Warwickshire Police to play its part in meeting the Climate Emergency, it will also help longer term financial sustainability through reductions in utility bills, for example through increased use of solar panels and more economic to run hybrid and electric vehicles.
“Taken together, all of these additional investments will allow Warwickshire Police to improve the service it gives the public and address directly the concerns people have raised with me.”
The new budget sets an increase to the Police Precept of 3.85%, which represents an 81 pence per month increase or £9.75 per year on an average Band D property. The majority of households in Warwickshire will pay less than £9.75 per year as they are in lower Council Tax bandings.