COLUMN: Council-tax rise will help make our county safer

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Giving our police officers the resources and support they need to do their job effectively is the goal of every police and crime commissioner.

Over the past few months, I’ve led a strong and persistent fight for more appropriate funding to negotiate the pressures and rising demands of policing today.

The government has recognised the urgency and seriousness of our needs and we now find ourselves in a position where we can once again invest in our frontline and pressing areas of crime investigation to keep people safe.

This is a long time coming.

Since 2010 we’ve had to wipe £54m off our budget and reduce the number of police officers and PCSOs to their lowest levels in decades.

My budget for 2018-19, which includes an annual increase of £11.97 in the amount of council tax paid by a Band D property as advocated by the Policing Minister last December, will help raise an additional £2.8m for the budget.

What does this mean for Nottinghamshire?

It means we can invest in 80 additional officers, taking our budgeted strength to 1,940.

More police officers is the priority of all of us and my ambitions are to move numbers towards 2,000 over the next two years which will make a huge difference to how well we can respond to local problems, how safe people feel in their communities and how accessible we are to the public.

This is important. Recorded crime is up, criminality is more complex, new threats like online fraud, modern-day slavery and child sexual exploitation require more resources and there is an ever-present need for vigilance to tackle the threat of terrorism.

Next year we will have £4m more to invest in local policing services.

Among the plans is the launch of a crime fighting fund to tackle knife crime and rural crime.

We’ll also be appointing a new knife crime manager to oversee work on tackling knife-related violence and investing in a specialist vehicle for the rural crime team to boost the scope of their work.

Additionally, we’ll be investing in a new custody facility to replace the current old-fashioned accommodation at the Bridewell in Nottingham while the number of officers in frontline posts will be further boosted thanks to a review of supervisory ratios which will see 61 supervisory posts rationalised to increase the frontline provision.

These are the changes necessary for meeting current and future demands and protecting the safety of local people in the long term. I can assure you that I know how important police visibility is to people.

Community confidence is vital. People want to feel safe in their homes and in their neighbourhoods.

We are doing everything we can to achieve this.

The extra money in this year’s budget won’t solve all our problems but it is a step in the right direction and with our planned efficiency savings this year, will allow us to protect the kind of policing local people value most.