£970million national police funding package will boost officer numbers in Sussex
As part of a £970m police funding settlement, the Home Office has announced today that Police and Crime Commissioners will be able to raise the police element of council tax - the precept - above the current £12 limit.
Both the increase in the core grant and this funding flexibility for PCCs is a result of the intense lobbying I have undertaken with other PCCs and Chief Constables to secure the biggest annual increase for police forces since 2010.
I want people in our county to feel safe and have confidence in their police force and we know that officer visibility plays an important role in achieving this. Today’s unprecedented funding news will help us recruit substantial numbers of PCSOs and police officers as well as improving the public contact service, especially the 101 non-emergency number.
People tell me that, whilst they are reassured by the ongoing recruitment of police officers in Sussex, they really miss the contact and interaction with familiar PCSOs that help build community confidence. Sussex Police have presented me with initial proposals that will help meet their operational imperatives and further strengthen local policing.
Public feedback that I have received over recent weeks from my focus groups and extensive engagements shows a clear appetite for more visible policing and a willingness to pay more if people can see where their money is going. This is why the Chief Constable and I are committed to ensuring that residents will see and feel the benefit of any extra funding raised locally.
The Government has also provided additional grant money to meet the increased costs of pensions that we faced, so I’m pleased to say our existing recruitment plans can continue apace.
Although no final decisions will be made until early February next year, I would like to recruit many more PCSOs in communities across Sussex where I know they will be very warmly welcomed back as well as improve the service people receive when calling the 101 non-emergency number.