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PCC releases details of budget to boost visibility of policing and improve outcomes

January 31, 2024
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe

Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe has set out the details of his budget to deliver policing, crime prevention and victim services in the financial year ahead.

Developed out of the feedback from the Commissioner’s ‘You Police, Your Views’ surveys and input from Warwickshire Police and other key stakeholders, the budget is set to deliver a number milestone outcomes, including:

  • Improved engagement and visibility by Warwickshire Police,
  • An increase in proactive policing and prevention activity,
  • Improved victim care and a victim-centred focus within investigation activity,
  • Increases in the number of suspects brought to justice, with dedicated resources focused on important crime types such as retail theft, vehicle crime and burglary.
  • An extra focus on anti-social behaviour by police and partners
  • Improved health and wellbeing for officers and staff.

To achieve this, an additional 10 police officers will be recruited in 2024/25, bringing the force strength up to 1,125 – another new high point in the force’s history. This will help to ensure the continued delivery of the operational policing model introduced in 2023 and allow the introduction of five new police officer posts to give an improved response to retail crime and improve visibility in town centres.

Recognising the pressing issue of anti-social behaviour, the budget allocates £1 million of ring-fenced funding to address hot spot areas across the county. This injection, courtesy of the Home Office, will give an increased, visible uniformed presence in these to both identify and deter those responsible.

It also strengthens the capacity of specialist investigation teams who target high harm offending in areas such as child abuse, trafficking and exploitation.

There will also be investment in the force’s physical infrastructure (estates, fleet and uniform) to provide an improved working environment for officers and staff and ensure they have the tools to do their job effectively. This includes a focus on sustainability with the introduction of electric vehicle charging points and solar panel roofing.

Further improvements in the response to calls for service will also be made, with particular focus on 101 non-emergency calls through investment in new facilities such as live chat and call back.

Services for victims of crime will also be underpinned by a £2.8 million commitment from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s budget. Up to £840,000 of this funding delivers enhanced services for the victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse to help them cope and recover. A further £375,000 of funding will provide a domestic abuse perpetrator programme to prevent harm and reduce reoffending.

New contracts will also begin to provide substance misuse support services to those within or on the fringes of the criminal justice system, with the aim of breaking the cycle of reoffending. The Commissioner will also continue to provide grant funding for projects focussed on prevention of crime and diversionary activity, alongside road safety initiatives.

Funding worth £175,000 will support the work undertaken by Community Safety Partnerships across the county to address local issues of concern.

A report published ahead of meeting of the Warwickshire Police and Crime Panel next week shows that the net revenue budget for policing the county in 2024/25 has been proposed as £133.144m .This includes an increase in the Police Precept (the portion of Council Tax which alongside Central Government grants pays for policing) of 4.7%, equivalent to 25p per week extra for an average Band D household.

Without this increase, which is in line with Government expectations, Warwickshire Police would have needed to find £2.9m in savings to plug a budget shortfall, directly impacting on services to the public.

Commenting on the budget plans, Mr Seccombe said: “The process of setting a budget that is fair to taxpayers but which also provides the resources that are needed to sustain and improve policing is no easy task. It means weighing priorities and sometimes making difficult choices. That’s why I’ve listened carefully to the feedback residents and businesses have given me through the ‘Your Police, Your Views’ survey, as well analysing a wide range of other local and national data.

“From this engagement, it’s evident that the majority of the public stands behind increased funding for policing and community safety, provided they witness tangible improvements in the services delivered. My budget reflects this sentiment. It earmarks the necessary funds for the Chief Constable to sustain and improve services to the public, as well as ensuring officers and staff are paid properly for what they do, with the right equipment, buildings and facilities to be as effective as possible.

“Moreover, the budget amplifies our joint commitment to better outcomes for victims and a more robust pursuit of justice against offenders.”

He added that every penny of the precept increase must translate into tangible benefits for the public. “The Chief Constable has committed to driving improvements in key areas crucial to local residents and businesses,” he said. “In tandem, I pledge to hold the Chief Constable accountable for delivering on these commitments and demonstrating value for money, with improved outcomes for all.”

In line with the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act the Commissioner and his team will present a full budget overview and state the case for an increase in the Police Precept at a meeting of the Police and Crime Panel on Monday 5 February.