WILTSHIRE’S Police & Crime Commissioner is urging residents to have their voices heard on plans to raise the policing precept by £10 per year. 

The proposed increase put forward by PCC Philip Wilkinson is a raise of 4.3 per cent in the amount Band D households pay for policing within their council tax bill – this rise equates to 83p per month. 

A recent funding announcement from the Home Office based on the assumption PCCs would seek the maximum precept rise. 

The £10 rise is the maximum the PCC can ask for without a public referendum being called – a decision Mr Wilkinson says was not made lightly. 

“This year has been another incredibly tough one with the economic impact from the pandemic still being felt across our communities and I am conscious that any increase will be felt keenly,” he said. 

“The decision to ask for your support for a £10 per year increase has been a difficult one – and one that I would not make if there was an alternative.”

With this rise Mr Wilkinson plans to improve the ways in which Wiltshire Police tackles violence against women and girls through more training for frontline staff and bolstering its digital investigation capability. 

The funding would also go towards increasing the number of officers policing the roads, collision investigators increased resources available to the child abuse and child internet exploitation teams and an extra 62 officers through promised government uplift

Uplift funding and precept contributions will mean Wiltshire Police is on track to recruit 1,158 police officers by March 2023.

“Previous precept increases have seen investments in a number of areas including officer numbers, rural crime resources and digital investigation teams,” he continued.

“Given the landscape of Wiltshire rural crime remains a priority for me, in addition to road safety and serious and organised crime, only by investing in our police service and allocating resources effectively can we address the root causes of crime and enforce the law.  

“Wiltshire is the fourth lowest-funded force in the country and ensuring we get our fair share from the centre will always be top of my agenda.

“However, we also need to ensure the funding we do have is used efficiently and focused on the front-line and delivery.”

More than £4m in savings would need to be made if the precept is not risen, the PCC said and this would mean cutting staff and services.

With the rise Wiltshire Police will still need to find £1.4m in savings but it says this is a far more achievable figure. 

Policing is just one element of your council tax bill which is comprised of town council precept, social care and the unitary precept.

Mr Wilkinson added: “This would unquestionably lead to a less visible policing presence in your communities and a reduction in service levels.

“Remember, together we are Making Wiltshire Safer, so whatever your view or opinion, fill out the survey. 

“If it matters to you, it matters to me and I am determined we will have a police force that Wiltshire needs – and deserves.”

Residents have until February 2, 2022 to take the online survey here.

The PCC’s budget is made up of around 54 per cent (£73m) funding from government and 46 per cent from council tax (£61m).

Central funding has risen since this to £76.8m – a rise of 5.2 per cent. 

Despite this, Wiltshire Police remains the fourth lowest funded force in the country with £100.37 per head of the population when the national average is £127.47.