Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100
Protecting the frontline - keeping tax low
It has been a busy couple of weeks and I haven’t had much time to blog. I wanted to stop and reflect on some of big recent developments around the budget for policing. 

I met on Thursday night with local government leaders to discuss my budget and the level of council tax that is gathered for policing. I said in my election campaign that I was intending to freeze the local policing precept – I’ve kept my promise.

This bucks the trend of many other Commissioners around the country who are putting tax up, but I am happy to be different. Hertfordshire has a well-developed savings and efficiency plan that means we can reduce costs whilst still maintaining service levels. By freezing council tax for this year I have been able to access a one-off Government grant worth £673,000.

I could have hiked up your local tax bill. With families feeling the pinch, I don’t think it would have been right to do so.

I have been working closely with the Chief Constable in setting the budget. Although there will be reductions in the staffing of some back office functions, I am pleased to be able to make some modest investment into key areas such as cyber-crime and cross border criminality. Critically, I will be protecting and slightly enhancing staff numbers in frontline neighbourhood teams.

The freeze on policing precept will mean that local payment for policing services will not have risen for the last three years. No other force in the Eastern Region has held their precept levels over this period. At the same time, Hertfordshire has recorded the largest decrease in crime levels. Since 2008 burglary has reduced by 40% and theft from motor vehicles by 44%. For this year crime is down 15% when compared against the same period twelve months ago.

The best led forces, working with a clear strategy, can find savings whilst still improving services and reducing crime. This isn’t a numbers game. It is not about having too many or too few officers, but having enough to deliver our plans which included keeping this county safe. Hertfordshire enjoys a lower crime rate than any of our neighbouring counties; I intend to keep it that way.