New police officers will be out on the beat in Nottinghamshire, after plans to increase the council tax significantly were approved.
Part of the extra £3.8 million generated will be spent on recruiting new officers in an effort to improve community policing.
However, concerns were raised at a meeting about the scale of the increase – up 12 per cent from last year for a band D property.
The local police precept – the amount people pay through their council tax for policing – will rise from £195.39 to £219.33 per year for a band D property from April.
For a band C property it will rise from £173.68 to £194.96. For a band B property it will rise from £151.97 to £170.59 and a band A – the most common in Mansfield and Ashfield – will rise from £130.26 to £146.22.
The move was approved at a meeting of the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime panel at County Hall.
As part of next year’s budget, 15 new officers will be allocated to Nottingham and 18 will be stationed elsewhere in the county.
A further seven officers will make up a dedicated robbery team, which will concentrate on targeting offenders involved in street muggings, especially those involving weapons such as knives. It would also look at cash-point robberies.
Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioner, said: “Ask any resident what makes their community feel safer and the answer will be the same – more police officers.
“People need to feel safe, regardless of whether their risk of becoming a victim of crime is high or low, and I know they are reassured to see police officers walking the streets night and day.
“Clearly the panel recognised the need to increase police funding and that increasing the police precept is the only option available to us.
“This budget will enable our recruitment programme to continue with 40 more officers on our streets, raising police visibility where it matters most.
“It will also boost the work to tackle robbery, knife crime and hate crime, things which I know really matter to people. They want to feel safe, and be safe, on the streets and in their communities.”
Councillor Jason Zadrozny, leader of Ashfield District Council, voted against the budget proposal.
He said: “The numbers just don’t add up.
“My district will be paying an extra £900,000 a year, in return for three extra officers.
“They aren’t paying more to get more, they are paying a lot more to get a tiny amount more.
“I appreciate you are between a rock and a hard place, because if you don’t put it up the Government will think you don’t need it, and if you do then you will get people like me moaning.
“But my district is one of the poorest in the county, and to ask them to pay almost a million pounds in return for three officers, I just can’t support that.”
As well as the new officers, the force hopes to build a new joint headquarters for itself and the fire service, as well as a replacement to the Bridewell custody suite.
Nottinghamshire County Council – which represents the biggest share of the overall council tax bill – has announced plans for an increase in its share of almost 4 per cent, the maximum it can be raised by without holding a referendum.
The Conservative-led council says the move is “regrettable”, but needed to address funding shortfalls caused in part by increased demand for services and a reduction in funding from the Government.
The initial proposals include a recommendation to increase council tax by just under 3 per cent and the adult social care precept by 1 per cent.
For Band A properties in the county, people will pay an extra £37.75 a year, while Band D properties will pay an additional £56.63.
Mansfield District Council and Warsop Parish Council are not planning to increase their precepts.
Nottinghamshire Fire Authority has been recommended to approve a 2.95 per cent raise in its precept, taking a band A property from £51.67 to £53.20 and a band D property from £77.51 to £79.80.