More tax rises 'to pay for new Thames Valley police officers'

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Boris Johnsons and Anthony StansfeldImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accompanied by Anthony Stansfeld at Thames Valley Police's training centre on his election campaign trial

A council tax rise for the third year in a row will go towards funding 183 new police officers across the Thames Valley, the force's police and crime commissioner (PCC) has said.

Anthony Stansfeld, PCC for Thames Valley Police (TVP), proposed to increase the precept by £10 (4.9%) at the force's annual budget meeting.

The force said each 1% rise in tax would generate about £1.9m.

TVP increased taxation by £12 two years ago and then £24 last year.

If the budget is approved by the force's police and crime panel, Band D householders will pay £46 a year more to the police than they did three years ago.

The rise also means council tax will make up 44.8% of the force's overall budget in 2020-21, a rise from 34% in 2013-14.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Anthony Stansfeld said Thames Valley Police is expecting to gain between 400 and 600 officers over the next few years

Mr Stansfeld said increasing council tax each year concerned him, but said if taxpayers had not "propped it up, we would have far fewer police officers in post than we have now".

"I'm delighted at last the government has acknowledged that they have really cut too many police officers," the Conservative added.

"We have taken quite a hit over the last few years."

The commissioner said increasing council tax was "very much the government's recommendation" and said it would pay for "183 officers and also quite a lot of other things".

Thames Valley Police said while the extra funding was "welcomed", it was "not a panacea for the police service", with cuts of £14.4m still needing to be made over the next four years.

"The initial investment... will not address the significant cuts we have made in previous years or the additional demand we continue to face," a statement added.

Mr Stansfeld, who was Thames Valley's first elected PCC in 2012, is to stand down from the role at the next election this year.

Thames Valley's Police and Crime Panel is set to give final approval to the budget on 14 February.

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