Thames Valley Police agrees on council tax rise to protect frontline services

No cuts or changes will be made to Thames Valley Police’s frontline services following a budget plan meeting between the force’s Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) earlier today (Tuesday).

TVP said it was considering scrapping its horses by 2019 and to make reductions in its dog unit and roads policing unit in order to save over the next three years.

Since 2010 TVP has had to save £99m due to Government cuts, resulting in a reduction of more than 450 police officers.

At a meeting at TVP’s headquarters in Oxford Road, Kidlington, Chief Constable Francis Habgood presented budget options to PCC Anthony Stansfeld.

An increase in council tax by £12 a year for the equivalent of a Band D property was decided on by Mr Stansfeld to protect frontline policing from cuts as part of the budget.

Increased funding to protect vulnerable people and victims of child sexual exploitation and to invest in new technology is also included in the 2018/19 budget.

The impact on police officer and staff numbers over the next three years is a net increase of 47 police officers and 46 police staff

Chief Constable Habgood said dog handling vacancies will be scrutinised, but that no immediate decisions would be made until Royal Ascot 2019.

“We need to find, and will find, savings of about £15 million over the next three years,” he said.

“Thames Valley Police already has a great track record in improving efficiency.

“We have already saved about £99 million since 2010. That is almost a quarter of the budget for next year.

"We will always be required to make tough decisions about how best to shape our organisation.

"We have to both deliver today, and also plan for the future to ensure we continue to keep the communities of Thames Valley safe."

Commenting on his decision to raise the council tax precept, Mr Stansfeld said that the policing settlement from central government received before Christmas allowed for an increase in funding for local policing but it had to come from council tax.

“I sought the views of residents in the Thames Valley and out of 5,600 people surveyed nearly 85 per cent agreed to an increase in council tax to fund policing,” said Mr Stansfeld.

“Like many who took part in the survey, I strongly believe that the additional funding should come directly from government and I will continue to highlight this to the Home Secretary and the Policing Minister.”

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