Cleveland Police to get extra £10.4m to fund 127 new officers - if council tax bills go up

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Cleveland Police to get extra £10.4m to fund 127 new officers - if council tax bills go up

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said he's already started recruiting new officers

Cleveland Police could get an extra £10.4m in funding this year which will see 127 new officers on the streets of Teesside.

The Home Office says £143m will be spent on policing in Teesside in 2020/21, calling the increase the "biggest funding boost in a decade".

But leaders will have to put up council tax bills to benefit from the full amount.

The Government says the extra funding will be used to recruit more officers and tackle rising crime rates.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised 20,000 new police officers during the election campaign, and today the Home Office has revealed that 6,000 of those will be on the streets nationally by March 2021.

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger

A total of 127 of those will be starting on Teesside by the end of the summer.

Cleveland's budget has been decimated after 10 years of Government austerity, with the force losing more than 500 officers and around £40m a year in funding, with senior leaders and local politicians repeatedly calling for increased funding.

It had more than 1,700 officers in 2009 but just 1,212 last April.

Levels of crime have also increased. There were 67,307 offences recorded by Cleveland Police in 2018/19 - up from 55,091 recorded in 2008/09.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Barry Coppinger says he has campaigned for a long time to see funding increase.

Mr Coppinger said: " Cleveland Police must make significant improvements and this additional funding will allow the Chief Constable to implement the plans he has drawn up.

"I will hold him to account in delivering the rapid improvement the public deserves and expects."

 

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Mr Coppinger will not seek re-election as the Labour candidate for PCC in May, after the force was heavily criticised in a stinging report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services in which it was branded inadequate in all areas, and " directionless, rudderless and clueless" .

But he will still be in charge when the force's budget is set in March.

Part of Cleveland Police's budget is paid for from the policing precept, a levy the force puts on council tax bills.

And Mr Coppinger will recommend the precept is increased by the maximum of £10 a year for a Band D property, to ensure its budget goes up by the full amount and Teesside can benefit from extra officers - bringing its total to 1,390 this year.

"This will be welcome news for local residents, who want to see a more visible police presence in their communities," he continued.

"The action I took to accelerate police recruitment ahead of this announcement means the public will see more officers within a matter of weeks, rather than the months it would have taken had we delayed.

"Now that the government has supplied the settlement figures, I can hold a public consultation on the precept level and when this launches, I would urge every resident of Cleveland to head to my website to have their say.

"My recommendation will be to support the £10 increase, which will enable the Chief Constable to make 2020 a turning point for Cleveland Police."

Priti Patel

The Home Office says its plan represents an almost 10% increase (£1.1bn) for forces nationally - if each PCC increases its precept by the full amount. Included in that figure is the £750m promised last year for new officers.

More money is being spent nationally on counter-terrorism, online child abuse and county lines drug dealers, the Home Office says.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "This government is delivering on the people’s priorities by giving policing the biggest funding increase in a decade.

"It will mean more officers tackling the crime blighting our streets, so people can feel safe in their communities."