The Police, Fire and Crime panel in Staffordshire have agreed an increase in what taxpayers fork out towards police and fire and rescue services n the coming twelve months.
Staffordshire’s Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, Matthew Ellis, put forward a rise of 16p a week for policing and 3p a week for fire and rescue in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent which has been agreed.
The Commissioner praised the professionalism of both emergency services and said the funding would help maintain the high standards set by both.
"Whilst I know the budgets will be tight for both services, I am confident the professionals will rise to the challenge and maintain safe and highly effective services.
"Challenges for policing are becoming more complex. Criminality is changing and with reduced national funding over several years, it means I’ve asked people to pay more local tax. However the increase since 2013, when I was first elected, is still the second lowest in the country.
"Investment last year from local taxpayers is making a big difference, with the 69 more police officers I promised now in place. Crime is falling in only four of 43 policing areas across the country and Staffordshire is one of those four.
"Both services have been rated as ‘good’ across the board by the independent inspectorate. I’m proud of both services and their dedication and hard work."
Temporary Chief Constable Nick Baker has welcomed the decision by the Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue, and Crime, and supported by the Staffordshire Police Fire and Crime Panel, to increase the council tax precept for policing.
He said: “This increase in funding will enable Staffordshire Police to further strengthen our capabilities to tackle the many existing and emerging challenges facing policing.
"This will include investment in improving the force’s digital capabilities and technology, expanding capacity in investigations and intelligence, modernising contact services and the ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) network - a key tool in identifying offenders.
"Investment will also be made in the Special Constabulary to ensure they have the equipment they need to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
“These investments will build on those which the force made last year, which included the development of a missing persons team, a proactive disruption capability and a dedicated roads policing unit which have already delivered strong results across the county through Operation Disrupt and Operation Lightning.
“The additional investments are also designed to support the increase in officer numbers in the force, linked to the national drive to recruit 20,000 new police officers. For Staffordshire Police this will mean an additional 90 new officers in 2020/21, on top of those already planned, who will be focused on areas where they will make the greatest impact on preventing and tackling crime and helping us to improve service for local communities.”
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, Becci Bryant has welcomed the decision. She said: “We work very hard to ensure we do the best we can to keep the people of Staffordshire safe and this decision to increase funding will enable us to continue to make further progress to deliver on our priorities for protecting people across Staffordshire.
“We have been able to deliver an effective and efficient service during the last three years due to good financial planning and the implementation of numerous changes across the organisation to transform our services and the way we operate to ensure we continue to deliver a first class emergency response to fires and other emergencies.
"We look to build on the success of our previous plans, whilst recognising the challenges we have yet to face.”