IT would take just seven pence a week from each household in Dorset to fund an additional 12 police officers.
To this end, in his report to the Police and Crime Panel, The Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill is proposing a 1.95 per cent policing precept increase for 2013/2014. It is proposed that this will be £183.51 for a Band D property – a rise of £3.51 on the current year.
In addition to the recruitment of 12 police officers, the additional funds would enable an increase in the number of Special Constables, the extension of mobile data and improving support to victims.
Police Officer recruitment in Dorset has been suspended since June 2010. Although overall numbers are set to fall further as funding continues to decline, recruitment of new officers is considered to be important to bring in new blood. It is intended that, subject to the precept decision, a new intake of 12 officers will be recruited in June 2013. This will result in a net reduction of 38 officers, rather than the originally anticipated reduction of 50.
Mr Underhill said: "With the extension of the Governments Austerity cuts to 2018 Dorset Police could be faced with not having any Police Officers with less than eight years service. The profile of the Force will become unbalanced and it will make the workforce unstable. There is a danger that we will begin to be unrepresentative of the community that we are policing and lose vital skills and leadership potential that new officers can bring."
He added: "The possibility of raising the precept has not been made lightly. This 1.95 per cent option is the best balance between sustaining the Force and seeking to limit the impact on council tax payers."
"I want to ensure security in the home and safety in public places. We need to invest in our force to do this. On my visits to towns and villages across Dorset, I have been told repeatedly that people want a more visible force. My priority is to keep people in Dorset safe and feeling safe."
The proposed precept will be considered by the Police and Crime Panel on Thursday this week and, if approved, will come into force in April.