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Hampshire PCC looks to increase precept to pay for 50 officers

He says last year?s investment in officer welfare gave force ?one of lowest sickness rates in the country?
Published - 04/01/2021 By - Gary Mason

Hampshire’s PCC Michael Lane is looking to increase the policing precept again in 2021-22 to recruit an additional 50 officers on top of the 156 funded through the national uplift programme.

He said an early public survey suggests that 58% of Hampshire residents support an increase in the precept for the next financial year and has launched a wider survey to gauge support for the rise.

Last year’s precept increase had allowed the force to recruit an additional 94 officers on top of the centrally funded national allocation of 156 he said.

It also allowed the force to invest in officer wellbeing which kept sickness rates down during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of that investment he says Hampshire is consistently in the lowest five forces for sickness rates in England and Wales.    

The increase in the precept had also allowed the force to hire more call handlers to answer 999 and 101 calls with more calls being answered on time. 93% of people now get through to 101 compared with 83% in June and for 999 the rate is now 99.6% he claims.

This year, the Government has given Police and Crime Commissioners the flexibility to increase the policing precept by up to a maximum of £15 per year (based on Band D properties).

He said even a 7.5% increase would help to pay for the early recruitment of 50 new officers on top of the Uplift allocation. It would also help with crime prevention though offender diversion schemes freeing up capacity to investigate other crimes, including burglary.

The money would also be used to increase forensic capability to keep pace with technology.

He said: “In an early survey this year, Police and Crime Commissioner asked local residents from the Hampshire Constabulary policing area if they would support an increase. To date, 58% are in support of an increase.

“The Chief Constable and her team have made a compelling operational case for investment in policing through an increase in the council tax. A 2.5% increase (10p per week) would enable the Chief Constable to maintain what was achieved last year. An increase above this, up to 7.10% (29p week based on a Band D property) would enable the force to build on what has been achieved, take the fight to criminals and to start to reduce crime.”

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