Public Consultations

Open Letter on the Council Tax Precept for 2021-22


I am writing with a proposal on the level of the police precept for 2021/22 and am keen to hear your opinion. Setting the budget for policing in Hertfordshire is one of my most important responsibilities and I always do it in consultation with the public. This budget seeks to support the strategy I have set to deliver an effective and efficient police force, one that puts prevention first, grows our capacity to fight crime and puts more frontline officers on our streets. The police funding settlement for 2021/2022 represents a second year of unprecedented investment in policing with an increase of £7.4m from the government to fund the police officer uplift programme.  As they did last year, the government have suggested that local tax payers should also increase their contribution so that the benefits of this investment can be properly maximised.  You have consistently told me that you want to see more frontline police officers and, thanks to previous years’ funding investments from the precept, you are already seeing a return on your investment and the benefits of 91 more officers on the streets than we had last year.

Thanks to your support in previous years I was able to begin expanding our force even before the uplift programme began and we have continued to be well ahead of the uplift targets set by the government, bringing benefit to Hertfordshire well ahead of other parts of the country. This year, my precept proposal would enable the recruitment of 167 more officers, resulting in the largest force that Hertfordshire has ever seen [1]. Hertfordshire Constabulary is on track to have 2,267 officers by March 2022. That is 77 more officers than the government target for the year but I believe they will deliver more and faster benefits to our county.

These record officer numbers will allow us to transform our approach to policing and achieve concrete results in terms of cutting crime and reducing victims.  I have therefore asked the Chief Constable develop a new ‘Prevention First’ agenda and we have already started investing in this. Prevention First is a new and transformative model which focuses on preventing issues arising in the first place, working closely with you in our communities and with our partners to identify and tackle the root causes of crime. An increase in the precept would allow us to invest in over 30 new Prevention First officers who will continue to drive down demand, cut crime and create fewer victims.

In line with the rest of the country, Hertfordshire has also seen increases in reported cybercrime, child exploitation and other emerging crime types. It is positive that victims now have the confidence to report the crimes and get the help they require, but it is vital that we have the right investigative capacity and support for victims, and that we safeguard vulnerable people and businesses. Our award-winning Beacon Fraud Hub continues to provide dedicated support to victims of fraud, supporting over 4,200 victims last year and being instrumental in recovering £300,000 of lost monies for victims of fraud. In line with the priorities outlined in my Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan: Everybody’s Business, I want to expand victim services so that we can continue to help and safeguard victims and support the preventative and protective nature of the service.

I want to use the flexibility granted by the government to raise the council tax precept by £15 per year for the equivalent of a Band D property. This would generate an additional £6.796m in income in 2021/22, enabling us to expand frontline policing and deliver the investments I have outlined.  This increase would still leave Hertfordshire with one of the lowest levels of precept in the country.

Your views are important

These are my thoughts, but I want to hear from you. This is your chance to have a say on the amount you pay for policing across Hertfordshire. I need your views and comments to help determine whether this is the right decision for Hertfordshire. Your views and comments are an important part of this process.
 
If you would like to make comments, please send them to your.views@herts.pcc.pnn.gov.uk or complete this short survey. Alternatively write a letter to: The Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, 15 Vaughan Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 4GZ by 15 January 2021.
 
Yours faithfully,
David Lloyd
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire

[1] The previous highest total in Hertfordshire Constabulary was 2,202 police officers in 2007.
 

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