Wednesday 21 February 2024
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Nottingham

Police numbers in Nottinghamshire to remain high despite funding pressures

Police officer numbers in Nottinghamshire will remain higher than they have been in over a decade, as part of Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry’s budget proposals for next year.

Recognising the public desire to protect the force’s high-visibility uniformed presence and to meet the national officer uplift target, the plans will focus on maintaining police officer numbers at 2,378 – the highest since March 2011 – as well as 150 Police Community Support Officers.

Commissioner Henry’s funding vision for 2023-24 also includes safeguarding a £4.2 million budget for grants and commissioning to continue vital work to support victims and prevent crime, help people feel safe and protect them from becoming victims of crime.

A new and improved Victim CARE service will also be commissioned and launched to give victims of crime more support following an incident.

The ambitious plans come despite increased financial pressures including soaring inflation and rising energy costs.

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Nearly £5 million of efficiency savings have been identified – including bringing some key services in-house and smarter use of IT systems – to help reduce the strain on the coffers.

The plans also include a council tax precept increase of £14.94 on Band D properties – or just 29p per week – to help meet the increasing demand for the service.

Commissioner Henry said: “The public quite rightly expects a visible policing presence to help them feel safe and reassured and this budget sets out how we can meet that expectation.

“Following an intense period of recruitment, we now have the highest number of officers in over a decade and have 10% more deployable police officers than we did a year ago. This budget aims to maintain these levels.

“Staffing is the single biggest cost to the force, and it is challenging to maintain these high levels of officers – but it is the right thing to do, and allows us to claim £4.9m of government funding.

“It is also incredibly important because calls for service have rocketed in recent years, with 999 calls increasing by 15.6% in the last year, compared to pre-pandemic levels, and non-emergency 101 calls have risen by 20.6% in the same period. That equates to more than 150,000 extra calls to Nottinghamshire Police annually.

“The public consultation has shown support for these proposals. I recognise that times are hard for many families due to the rising cost of living, so any increase in cost must be absolutely justified. In this case, the benefits are clear – as well as the risks to service providers if we didn’t find this extra funding.

“I am committed to building trust and confidence in the police and I think one of the best ways to do this is to ensure we have a service that is fit to meet the public demand.”

The budget proposals are due to be presented to the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Panel at County Hall, West Bridgford, on Tuesday 7 February, where members will be recommended to support the council tax increase.

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