Herts largest ever force to get extra officers
Hertfordshire’s largest ever police force is to be boosted by an extra 90 officers.

The growth will be funded following support for Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd’s proposal to increase the police precept of the council tax by an average of £10 a year.

Last night (Tuesday) the county’s Police and Crime Panel backed the 4.69% increase after hearing the majority of residents who responded to the survey were in favour of the increase. This means a Band D property will pay £223 annually, up from £213, while those in a Band A will pay an additional £6.67 and those in Band H £20 more.

The council tax precept will raise £102.2m next year, an additional £4.59m, while remaining the fifth lowest annual precept in England and Wales. The gross budget for the 2020/23 is over £260.8m, which also includes £141.8m of government funding, and £16.8m in additional fees, other grants, funds and reserves. This is up £13m on the gross budget for 2021/22 of £247.8m.

As well as more front-line officers, the funding will also be used to employ 20 additional staff in the force control room to answer public emergency calls and enquires – and freeing up police officers to be used in more operational roles. There will also be 20 more PCSOs recruited to work in schools.

More investment will be made into the force’s Prevention First to tackle violence against women and girls and new specialist financial investigators will be recruited to combat serious fraud and cybercrime.

Addressing the panel, which met at North Herts District Council Offices, Mr Lloyd said: “This budget marks the third year of an unprecedented investment in policing in Hertfordshire.

“I have continued to push for efficiencies and savings across the force with the aim of incorporating inflationary increases in the existing budget year on year. I have frozen the budget for my office for the forthcoming financial year.

“This process has meant that the maximum amount of money can be used in those priority areas the public want to see investment in.

“The public have made it clear that they want to see more officers on our streets across the county and this budget will enable that to be delivered. Last year we passed the record for the greatest number of officers in Hertfordshire’s history, and now we are bringing in even more.”

The precept increase will support the recruitment of an extra 90 officers in the next financial year. By the end of the March 2023 the Constabulary are due to reach an establishment officer level of 2,340. The previous record for officer numbers in Hertfordshire was 2,202 in 2007.

Mr Lloyd’s decision followed a public consultation in which 62 per cent of residents said they wanted to pay more to support extra policing in the county. Out of almost 2,500 replies the remaining 29 per cent disagreed and 9 per cent were neutral.

“I would like to thank the public and the Police and Crime Panel for supporting my proposal to increase the precept for 2022/23. The additional funding will enable the delivery of the priorities set out in my forthcoming Police and Crime Plan.

“My new Plan fully reflects what the public have told me that they want, and to address those persistent crimes such as burglary, drug offences, driving offences and, crucially, violence against women and girls.

“This includes a pilot hotspot policing approach to focus on where the highest areas of harm caused by crime are in the county and to address them with better targeted interventions and improve deterrence.

“But we are in a good place in Hertfordshire, burglaries have halved in the past three years and we have the lowest number of rapes and serious sexual violence, and the highest level of convictions for those offences, compared to our most similar forces.

“We can now continue to move forward and build on these solid foundations to make Hertfordshire safer for everyone.”