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New police chief raises share of council tax
THAMES Valley's new elected police chief has decided to raise council tax in order to recruit more officers.
In a move out of line with the major councils in Bucks, which are all set to freeze their portion of the tax, Anthony Stansfeld has decided to up the rate from April.
It means the average Band D household will pay £3.08 a year extra.
Mr Stansfeld, who won the vote to become Thames Valley Police's first ever Police and Crime Commissioner in November, said the additional cash will be used to recruit an extra nine officers and redeploy 34 others to key roles in policing and child protection.
He said: "This increase is less than a pint of beer for a Band D household or less than a penny a day but it allows us to keep our frontline secure by not just maintaining police numbers but actually increasing them."
The force has had to make £70m savings over six years starting in 2011/12, due to Government cuts, with cash savings of £13.5 million already identified for 2013/14.
The tax rise is arguably the biggest decision Mr Stansfeld, elected to the £85,000 per year role as the Conservative party's candidate, has had to make so far since coming to office.
He has also recently launched a new plan to tackle crime in the area and appointed a deputy - former Wycombe District Council Deputy Leader Cllr David Carroll - who will earn £35,000 for the part time position.
Mr Stansfeld is also responsible for a new Community Safety Fund which brings together a number of different drug intervention, crime reduction and community safety programmes that the Home Office previously provided directly to other authorities.
Despite cuts of 16 per cent in the grant for this area Mr Stansfeld has pledged to try to maintain the current £3.5m level.
He said: "This is crucial to reducing crime as it will allow groups which have received Home Office funding before such as Community Safety Partnerships, drug intervention programmes and organisations tackling gang and youth violence to continue."
Chief Constable Sara Thornton said: "I am pleased that the Police and Crime Commissioner has supported the force by proposing a modest rise in the precept. This will enable us to increase the number of officers on local patrol teams and to increase the strength in our child protection units."
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