Residents in Oxfordshire are being asked to have their say on plans to increase the policing portion of council tax to fund Thames Valley Police which covers the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Matthew Barber, has launched a survey seeking views on the proposed change, which he said would be focused on frontline policing and would come into force from next April.
It follows the announcement that Thames Valley Police is set to receive an additional £5.1 million from the Home Office, which is a 1.8 per cent increase, for 2023/24 and has allowed Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) to increase the precept by up to £15 (for a Band D property).
For the Thames Valley, that would mean that for less than 29p a week for the average household, more than £14 million could be invested in frontline policing.
Police and Crime Commissioners, who represent the public, have already said the stretched service is struggling to cope.
Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber said: “I am aware of the ongoing cost pressures that many households are facing, and I want to ensure that any rise in the policing element of council tax will deliver value for money.
“Despite funding received through central government, policing isn’t unaffected by increasing cost pressures and faces a difficult time to fund vital services.
“This year’s policing budget is set against a demanding economic environment with rising inflation, utilities, pay, and fuel costs.”
Residents across the Oxfordshire are urged to complete the online survey and give their thoughts on where they would like the 2023/24 policing budget to be focused on.
Matthew added: “I want to see increased investment in community policing and improving communication between the public and the police. Final decisions on council tax and the policing budget will be made at the end of January.
“By contributing towards my ongoing survey, you can help shape how TVP continues to improve and tackle crime across our communities.”
The consultation can be found at https://www.thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk/survey/ and will run until 13 January 2023.