PCC: Tax hike would fund 30 district cops

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A hike in the police’s council tax precept will fund 30 additional officers across Central Bedfordshire, crime commissioner Olly Martins has promised.

As part of current proposals a referendum will be held alongside the General Election in May, in which residents will be asked whether they agree with a 15.8%rise in the amount of money paid to Beds Police.

The hike would cost home-owners with Band D proper-ties an extra £24.81 on top of the £156.55 they already pay to the force’s coffers annually.

After initially pledging that the extra income would be used to fund a hundred extra officers, Mr Martins has fine-tuned his plan ahead of a meeting with the police and crime panel on Thursday.

The refined proposal indicates that 30 officers will be placed across Central Bedfordshire, while 20 will be based in the Bedford borough and 25 in Luton.

The final 25 officers will be used to tackle ‘emerging issues’, like child sexual exploitation and cyber-crime.

How many of the 30 Central Beds officers would be based in Leighton Buzzard remains unclear, as the distribution of resources would be decided on by the local policing chief inspectors.

Mr Martins said: “This plan is not just about boosting Neighbourhood Policing across the county.

“It will also secure the longer term future of Bedfordshire Police in the face of ongoing austerity and government funding reductions.

“Nonetheless, this is not a decision I will make on a whim.

“I will base it on the feedback from the public, which is why it’s so important that people visit my website and give their views - it only takes a couple of minutes.”

> Meanwhile taxpayers in the Aylesbury Vale district will pay an extra 1.99% for policing next year, under proposals from Buckinghamshire police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfield .

The plan was agreed by the crime panel on Friday.