‘Po­lice would hire hun­dreds more if coun­cil tax rises’

West Sussex Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

Amax­i­mum­coun­cil­taxrise­would al­low Sus­sex Po­lice to em­ploy 200 ex­tra staff if ap­proved. Sus­sex Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sioner Katy Bourne is set to pro­pose the rise at a po­lice and crime panel meet­ing on Fri­day (Fe­bru­ary 1).

The max­i­mum per­mit­ted in­crease would mean £24 a year ex­traforav­er­age­coun­cil­tax­pay­ers liv­ing in Band D prop­er­ties from April.

The ex­tra money would pay for 100 new Po­lice Com­mu­nity Sup­port Of­fi­cers (PCSOs), 50 more po­lice of­fi­cers and an­other 50 spe­cial­ist staff.

Thi­sisaftera­sub­stan­tialpub­lic con­sul­ta­tion which backed a rise and 13 fo­cus groups held across Sus­sex. Mrs Bourne has also been in close dis­cus­sion with the Chief Con­sta­ble and his se­nior team to un­der­stand the de­mands on Sus­sex Po­lice.

The force’s anal­y­sis of the de­mands on lo­cal polic­ing and in­ves­ti­ga­tions and roads polic­ing, and the need to vastly im­prove the 101 ser­vice, has led them to re­quest:

· 100 ad­di­tional PCSOs go­ing back in to the com­mu­nity to providear­e­as­sur­inglo­cal­p­res­ence

· 50 ad­di­tional po­lice of­fi­cers to add to the re­cruit­ment drive al­ready un­der­way (the force al­ready­plan­tore­cruit800of­fi­cers by 2022. Al­to­gether 600 of these are needed to re­place of­fi­cers who leave or re­tire, and 200 will be ad­di­tional of­fi­cers

· 50 spe­cial­ist staff and in­ves­ti­ga­tors. Sus­sex coun­cil tax pay­ers cur­rently have the fifth low­est amount of po­lice pre­cept across the coun­try, and in terms of over­all fund­ing per head of pop­u­la­tion re­ceives the fifth low­est amount in Eng­land and Wales.

Fol­low­ing the pre­cept rise last year and use of re­serves, Sus­sex Po­lice­hasal­readyem­barke­donits big­gest re­cruit­ment pro­gramme for a decade, pro­tect­ing 476 posts that had been un­der threat, and re­cruit­ing 270 po­lice of­fi­cers in­clud­ing 50 trans­fer­ees since April 2018.

Last year Mrs Bourne raised the po­lice’s pre­cept by £12 per an­num for a Band D prop­erty last year, the max­i­mum then al­lowed, but in De­cem­ber the Gov­ern­ment an­nounced it would dou­ble the max­i­mum per­mit­ted in­crease for 2019/20.

Sus­sex PCC Katy Bourne

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