Wiltshire Police will see further investment in key policing services and more officers on the beat – after unanimous backing for the Police and Crime Commissioner’s budget.
The county’s Police and Crime Panel, which holds the PCC to account and is made up of cross-party councillors from Wiltshire and Swindon, backed the budget at a meeting this morning.
This support will raise the policing precept in Wiltshire by £10 a year to £241.27 for a Band D household for the next financial year.
Total revenue for Wiltshire Police will be nearly £147m and is roughly made up of 50% funding from central Government and 50% from local council tax.
The panels backing allows the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and Wiltshire Police to invest in key areas including roads policing and collision investigation, violence against women and girls and tackling child abuse and exploitation, in addition to the extra 67 police officers recruited via the national uplift programme.
After five years of increases funded locally, and through the national uplift campaign, the budget put forward by Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson for 2022/23 will take officer numbers from a low of 934 in 2018 to 1,165.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson said: “It is vitally important to me that now the Police and Crime Panel have supported my proposed budget for the next year that my office and Wiltshire Police can continue to deliver your policing service and deliver it well – making Wiltshire’s communities safer for all.
“The decision to increase the precept has been a difficult but necessary one and I have noted people’s concerns and are hearing them loud and clear.
“I am listening to residents when they tell me that they want a better and improved service from both the police and wider criminal justice system with improved outcomes and more visibility.
“I continue to work with the Chief Constable to ensure that visible community policing remains central to future plans, and can confirm that the majority of the extra officers will be deployed to neighbourhood policing teams.”
The budget is split between the OPCC and the Chief Constable with 98% allocated to the Chief Constable and the remaining 2% to the PCCs office for commissioned services, which includes supporting victims of crime and early intervention.
“Residents in Wiltshire and Swindon have invested in policing and the next year will be about ensuring that investment is felt by ensuring that they feel safe in addition to being safe, increased visibility of officers and increased confidence in the force while working on key priorities outlined in my Police and Crime Plan,” Mr Wilkinson added.
Wiltshire is the fourth lowest-funded Force in the country, and the current funding formula is due to be overhauled ahead of the next parliament.
Mr Wilkinson said: “Only by investing in our police service and allocating resources effectively can we address the root causes of crime, enforce the law and begin to make Wiltshire safer, and this is a conversation that I will be having with our local MPs and the Home Office as the central funding we currently receive is not sustainable to the increasing demands our police Force continues to face.”