Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner claims his final budget as in the post will leave the county’s force on a sound financial footing and with the resources to tackle big crime issues.
The county’s Police and Crime Panel yesterday (Tuesday) agreed to support Sir Clive Loader’s policing budget of £170.840m for 2016/17. This will mean a 1.99 per cent rise in the police precept part of council tax bills.
Sir Clive said he had been presented with a choice between building on the success of the last three years in which Leicestershire’s streets and communities have become safer; or taking a ‘safer, easier’ option for himself as he approaches the end of his term in office.
He said: “My priority is to provide the Chief Constable with an appropriate level of resources to further enhance public safety in the future, building on work already under way and enabling new and emerging policing challenges to be tackled effectively.
“That is what the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland want to see. They recognise the fabulous job our police officers and staff do in keeping our communities safe. Yet, they are also aware that police funding remains fragile.”
A survey of more than 1,100 people conducted by the Commissioner’s office found more than 80 per cent said they were prepared to pay more in their council tax towards policing.
Sir Clive said: “In making the decision I have about raising the precept, I do so knowing the public want to play their part in protecting those who protect them.”
Sir Clive said the public will get an effective police force with the permanent addition of 38 police officers and the full establishment of 251 PCSOs to be sustained beyond March 2017 in support of local policing teams.
He said: “This budget will give Leicestershire Police the resources it needs to fulfil its operational capabilities, while also ensuring the force is on a sound, financial footing. That is something that cannot be said of all police forces across the country.
“But crucially, it also presents an opportunity for the police and partners to work together in confronting and tackling issues such as child sexual exploitation, cyber-crime, domestic abuse, sexual offences and, of course, the work to counteract extremism and terrorism.”
Sir Clive, who announced last year that he does not intend to stand for re-election as PCC in May’s poll, said he could have taken the ‘easier option’ and not increased Council Tax bills.
But he added: “I see it as my duty not to handcuff my successor PCC with financial uncertainty and risk, and I believe this budget is the right one for Leicestershire Police.
“I leave this post in three months’ time and I will do so knowing that I have played a major part in ensuring that Leicestershire Police is fully resourced in its need to remain operationally capable whilst also being suitably lean but assuredly financially viable.”