I have continuously lobbied the Government for a much-needed increase in police funding and so I am pleased that the Government has announced that an additional £813m will be available nationally to Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to fund local police forces. However, it must be recognised that more than half of this funding (£509m) is expected to come from local taxpayers by increasing the police portion of the Council Tax.
Demand on police forces nationally has risen significantly in the last year as a result of higher crime numbers, the increasing complexity of crime, and the increasing reach of criminals both physically and via technology. This includes an increase in the reporting of high harm and previously hidden crimes such as child sexual abuse and modern slavery.
The challenge from serious and organised crime networks is also growing both in economic value and the geographical spread, whilst nationally there has been a spike in serious violence and knife crime alongside the increase in a gang culture. A significant amount of the more serious crime is now being committed by foreign national offenders.
In addition the police are dealing with a large amount of non-crime business, especially in relation to mental health. My focus will continue to be on delivering strong neighbourhood policing for all of the communities across the Thames Valley whilst addressing the serious threats and hardship posed by criminals.
An increase to the council tax will enable me to protect many of the vital functions that may otherwise have been reduced, and ensure that Thames Valley Police has more resources to tackle crime and keep the public safe. I am therefore proposing to increase council tax by £24 (equivalent for a Band D household) and will ensure that all the extra cash generated from council taxpayers will be spent on operational policing.
You can find more information about my public survey on the council tax increase below. I encourage you to complete the survey and to share it widely with your local communities.
GIVE YOUR VIEWS ON AN INCREASE TO THE POLICING ELEMENT OF THE COUNCIL TAX
THE SURVEY AND MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE PROPOSED AMOUNTS FROM EACH COUNCIL TAX BAND CAN BE FOUND BY VISITING https://bit.ly/2QEkGkk
In response to the exceptional operational demands on the police, particularly in areas such as Thames Valley, the Government has encouraged all PCCs to raise the policing element of the council tax by £24 a year in 2019/20 or £2 a month for a Band D property. (The increase in other property bands are detailed within the survey)
The PCC supports the increase in council tax by £24 for a Band D property. The draft budget for 2019/20 includes additional funding to increase local frontline policing, recruit more investigators and improve contact management with the aim to reduce call waiting times on 101 calls. Further information about the budget can be found here
The survey is open until WEDNESDAY 9TH JANUARY AT 5PM
POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER AWARDED HOME OFFICE FUNDING TO HELP TACKLE
YOUTH VIOLENCE, VULNERABILITY AND EXPLOITATION
The Home Office has awarded the Office of the PCC £822,000 from its Early Intervention Youth Fund to help tackle youth violence, vulnerability and exploitation across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
The funding, which runs until March 2020, will deliver a four tiered programme of work aiming to prevent young people being exploited into violence and offending through gangs and county lines drug dealing.
The Office of the PCC is leading on the programme in partnership with a range of organisations across the Thames Valley including Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs), Youth Offending Teams (YOTs), Substance Misuse Services, Local Authorities and Secondary Schools.
The programme will include four tiers of intervention:
* Raising awareness in all secondary schools across the Thames Valley.
This may include a knife crime/youth violence workshop sessions for young people and training for teachers and other professionals.
* Support for teachers and schools in tackling school exclusions, providing specialist support such as youth workers, YOT workers and Speech and Language Therapists within approximately a third of secondary
* Detached youth work to support and provide opportunities for young people who are not in education or employment and who are not engaging in mainstream services.
* Targeted engagement with young people already involved in gangs and knife crime, providing intensive support including access to therapies and skills training.
The Early Intervention Youth Fund programme will be managed by the Office of the PCC with individual projects delivered and monitored locally by partner organisations.
POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER LAUNCHES NEW SERVICE TO SUPPORT VICTIMS OF
In October, the PCC launched a new service to support victims of all forms of exploitation.
The Willow Project is part of ‘Victims First’ and is one of a number of services for victims commissioned by the PCC from his Victims Grant (awarded by the Ministry of Justice). It will be delivered by Thames Valley Partnership under a two year contract with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Victims First Willow Project will support victims of all forms of exploitation across the Thames Valley. This includes modern slavery, human trafficking and other forms of exploitation such as those exploited by County Lines drug dealing. Support workers from the Willow Project will work with victims and their families to provide crisis intervention, advocacy and long term practical and emotional support.
The service will also provide support to Thames Valley Police and other partner organisations including training on exploitation and modern slavery and attending police raids and other operational activity to provide assistance to the victims.
Victims of modern slavery and exploitation can be referred to the Willow
Project through Victims First on 0300 1234 148 or www.victims-first.org.uk
The service will also provide specialist support to victims of other forms of serious crime who have developed complex needs as a result.