HOUSEHOLDS across Merseyside will pay 5% more for policing next year after the city region’s police authority set an inflation-busting tax increase yesterday.
The force says the rise was necessary to offset a “disappointing” grant settlement from the Government.
For most Merseyside households the rise means the policing element of their council tax will rise by £4.47 a year, or 9p per week.
The authority has pledged an extra 79 operational officers will join the front line in the coming year.
They will include 32 new officers and 47 others redeployed from back office duties. The majority of these will be deployed across Merseyside, but some will join the Matrix Firearms Unit and others bolstering the Schools Officer contingent.
The force will also create a £300,000 Taser “reserve fund” in case it chooses to hand out more of the 50,000-volt stun guns.
UK police forces were awarded an average grant increase of 2.8% from the Government. But Merseyside was given just 2.6% more.
Cllr Bill Weightman, chairman of the authority, said last night: “In recent years the budget deficit has been as high as £12m so to be in the position to continue to develop the service further has taken a great deal of hard work.
“But, as an authority, we have been determined to increase the numbers of officers on the beat and this will continue in the coming year. It can also be achieved by the redeployment of police officers to frontline duties and using PCSOs. This budget has identified a number of savings that will address existing budgetary pressures but will allow investment in new posts which is quite an achievement in the current financial climate.
“There will always be pressures on the budget but we will continue to support the Chief Constable’s aspirations to become the best police force in the country.”
In a statement the authority added that existing Police Community Support Officer levels will be maintained and building upgrades will continue. THE DAILY POST