The Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, has approved the capital and revenue plans presented to him by chief constable Francis Habgood today (January 22).

Mr Stansfeld stated that in December he had welcomed the Government's funding settlement, and that more than £100 million has been cut from Thames Valley Police's annual budget over the last eight years.

The extra cash which will be generated from an increase of £24 in Council Tax for the equivalent of a Band D property will go towards recruitment, improved service and more.

"While the force continues to prioritise its work and make efficiency savings, there was significant concern that budget pressures would lead to unacceptable reductions in resources which would impact frontline policing and result in a service less able to respond to increases in demand," Mr Stansfeld said.

“The 2019/20 funding settlement has allowed us to avoid a reduction in resource and I am pleased to be able to agree a budget today which enables Thames Valley Police to invest in operational policing to help protect our communities.

“It is important to recognise, however that more than half of the funding in the Governments 2019/20 settlement (£509m) available nationally to police and crime commissioners is expected to come from local taxpayers by increasing the police portion of the Council Tax.

“Before I made a decision on the level of Council Tax, I sought views of the residents of the Thames Valley. Of the 8,031 people who completed the survey, 69.7 per cent agreed to an increase to fund policing. I am therefore proposing an increase in the police portion of the Council Tax in 2019/20 of £24 for the equivalent of a Band D property."

Mr Stansfeld added that the increase in Council Tax has enabled him to invest around £8.5m in a number of policing areas including recruitment of additional officers to respond to increasing crime demand and complexity; improved service to the public in investment in 101 call handling; the recruitment of investigators to tackle complex crime and investment in technology to improve productivity and efficiency.

He added: "I am confident that the budget proposed protects our communities today and plans for the future. Over the next four years, Thames Valley Police will need to continue to make efficiency savings of over £15m with demand on services expected to continue to increase through increased reporting of complex crime and the growing challenge from serious organised crime networks.

"The budget will now go to the Police and Crime Panel on February 1 for final ratification."

Francis Habgood, chief constable of Thames Valley Police said: “Firstly I would like to thank the public for showing their support for policing.

“Without this additional investment we would have faced further cuts and it would have seriously damaged our ability to provide the policing services that we want to and our communities expect.

“The increase agreed today will enable us to recruit additional officers and staff to respond to increased demand, recruit more investigators to tackle the increase in complex crimes, deliver an improved 101 service and to invest in technology to improve productivity and efficiency.”