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Council tax bills set to rise to pay for more police in Hertfordshire

The cost of policing in Hertfordshire is set to rise again for Bishop's Stortford householders – but in return the county's constabulary will be the biggest in its history.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd wants a 7.5% rise of £15 in the current 2020-21 precept of £198 to £213 in 2021-22 for a band D property, which equates to £1.25 a month. The policing element accounts for just over 10% of council tax bills in Stortford.

"Before I take any decisions on the budget, I want to understand from the people of Hertfordshire what they feel the local priorities should be," said Mr Lloyd.

Herts Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd with Chief Constable Charlie Hall
Herts Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd with Chief Constable Charlie Hall

The record number of officers in Hertfordshire was 2,202 in 2007, although the county's population was 127,000 lower – 1,068,000 compared to 1,195,000 in 2019.

The current number is 2,100, after the force hit its target of recruiting an extra 91 police in 2020-21.

Mr Lloyd wants to raise this by 167 to 2,267 by April 2022. The Government would fund 90 of these through a £7.4m grant while the PCC's proposed precept rise, which would generate an extra £6.7m, would pay for another 77.

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd
Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd

The ultimate aim is for 2,314 to be in post by April 2023.

The Hertfordshire policing budget for the current financial year is £217m, 41% of which comes through council tax and the rest mostly from the Government. The proposed 2021-22 budget is £231.1m, a 6.5% increase of £14.1m.

Mr Lloyd said: "I recognise that times are difficult for many people, especially those whose jobs have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this pandemic has also shown how incredibly important policing is to protect and reassure our communities. With this in mind, we are making an unprecedented investment in policing.

"This budget will boost officer levels in Hertfordshire to record levels never seen before. The majority of these officers will be stationed in local neighbourhoods, providing a more visible police presence on the street."

Mr Lloyd added: "Together with the constabulary we are investing in a pioneering 'Prevention First' agenda – the first police force in the country to do so. This aims to tackle the causes of crime and ensure less [sic] offences are committed, meaning everyone in the county will be even safer."

The current band D council tax bill in Bishop's Stortford is £1,854.98, which helps to pay for policing plus county, district and town council services.

Have your say at your.views@herts.pcc.pnn.gov.uk or complete a survey at bit.ly/Hertsprecept21.

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