Posted: Thursday 13th December 2018
Today the Home Secretary announced that Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) across the country will have the flexibility to raise the policing part of the council tax by up to £2 a month for the average band D household.
I have spent all year speaking to local people to gather their views on a £1 a month rise and the overwhelming majority of people 82% support the increase. Today’s £2 a month announcement is a surprise. However given the changing situation brought about by the Government it would not be right if I did not ask your views once again.
I have spoken to the Chief Constable about additional investment of up to £2 a month and we are committed to:
- Increase the number of police officers
- Proactive operations to focus specifically on burglary and drugs including tackling knife crime called Operation REMEDY
- To strengthen our approach to serious violence including gang and ‘county lines’
- Extend Operation Topaz which identifies and disrupts those responsible of child abuse across Avon and Somerset
- Increase response to cyber crime with dedicated cyber protect officer, volunteer officers and local people with skills
I’m committed to intensify our fight against serious violence on our streets and in our towns with high profile disruption activity. Sending a loud and clear message to criminals that coming into our area to commit their crimes and exploit our children is not an option.
This year we have seen drug related ‘county lines’ murders in Bridgwater and Yeovil, all involving people who have travelled to our towns to commit their crimes and push their drugs. Knife crime continues to blight our communities and reports show an increase of more than 50% over the past year. Targeting the supply of drugs and associated knife crime is a priority. As well as supporting our local authority partners in the fight to reduce violence on our streets, in our towns and our cities. This is the real threat we face and this is how I would use local people’s money.
Following last year’s £1 rise we have been able to maintain police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). We have also been able to protect local neighbourhood policing and make commitments to support every local primary and secondary school with a named officer or PCSO.
With £2 month it will be the first time we can proactively recruit 100 police officers over our established level since 2010. However I fully understand that there are lots of pressures on household budgets and I appreciate that this is a big ask which is why I need to hear from you.
I would like you to tell me whether you support the proposed increase of £2 a month. Please take the time to share your views in my online survey.
The survey will close on January 14 at midnight.