Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner says she wants to bring in ‘millions of pounds’ in extra government funding, but believes the policing part of local council tax bills must go up to make the rise possible.
Caroline Henry (Con) has proposed an increase in local bills of just under £10 a year for a Band D property, saying the money will partly help provide ‘a ring of steel’ around the county through a bigger network of cameras which automatically track car number plates.
The expansion is designed to stop criminal gangs transporting weapons and drugs into the area.
Mrs Henry says around £500,000 will be pumped into new cameras as well as 24 new officers in Operation Reacher teams.
The dedicated police teams work within each neighbourhood using tactics such as early morning raids to disrupt and dismantle criminals.
Mrs Henry appeared at a Police and Crime Panel held at County Hall, West Bridgford on Tuesday, 8 February.
Her office said Notts Police would be £22m ‘worse off’ over five years if the council tax precept wasn’t increased, impacting around 70 police officers.
She told the panel: “I am acutely aware we have got people that are really struggling for money, and I had to think really hard if this was the right time to increase the precept.
“If we don’t increase it, we are never going to be able to catch up again. There is so much we need to do. I think we should be spending to save long-term.
“The work we do now will stop more victims in the future – I am confident of that like the ANPR investment.
“We have done really well at getting millions of pounds extra out of the government. But we did that because they knew the precept had been maxed and we could not do any more.
“If I don’t put it up – and I haven’t raised the money here – I can’t then go to my ministerial colleagues, hand on my heart, and say ‘I need more for more’.
“Unless I raise what I can here, I have a very weak argument when I am going to ask for more. And trust me I have a vision to get millions and millions more out of government, but to do that I have to get local people to help out.”
Cllr Richard MacRae (Ind), of Broxtowe Borough Council, said: “Fifty-five pence a month (extra) for those in the lowest banded areas is quite a lot but for 55p a month we are getting Operation Reacher to tackle knife crime and gangs and ANPR.”
Cllr MacRae wore a t-shirt bearing the name of Joe’s World, an organisation set up in the wake of 16-year-old Joe Whitchurch’s murder in Stapleford on Boxing Day 2020,
He added: “If 55p a month stops me wearing t-shirts like the one I have got, with names on them of people who have been murdered then yeah, it’s worth it.”
Cllr Andy Abrahams (Lab), of Mansfield District Council, said: “The financial world has changed dramatically. Do we really need to have the precept (increased) this year when everything is going through the roof?”
Cllr Mike Introna (Con), who covers Retford East at the county council, said he will support the rise but believes Bassetlaw needed more officers.
He added: “There is just under 2,500 full-time officers – I know in my own area that we have eight full-time officers in Bassetlaw. We need to look at that.
“People need to see they are getting value for money. We are paying on the face of it 10 times the going rate for police officers compared to the city or elsewhere.”
Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police, Craig Guildford, said he could not give the exact number due to operational purposes but stressed: “I do need to reassure you that number is bonkers. You have loads more than that. There are loads of cops that cover your area.”
Cllr André Camilleri (Con), county councillor of Mansfield South, was also supportive of the rise but added: “I know the north of the county do need more officers, especially in Mansfield and Ashfield. It’s what we get in the north of the area not about the money. We don’t get our fair share.”
The majority of councillors, bar two who abstained, were in favour of the rise.
Proposed rises to households:
Band A – £162.84 to £169.50
Band B – £189.98 to £197.75
Band C – £217.12 to £226.00
Band D – £244.26 to £254.25
Band E – £298.54 to £310.75
Band F – £352.82 to £367.25
Band G – £407.10 to £423.75
Band H – £488.52 to £508.50