Wiltshire and Swindon's Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson has today (4/2) set the county's policing precept for 2021/22.

An increase of £15 per year, per Band D household, will now take effect from April this year.

The decision was taken following public consultation - where 63% of responders supported the increase - and unanimous support from Wiltshire's Police and Crime Panel, which sat today.

This extra funding, which equates to £1.25 a month per Band D household, will mean that Wiltshire Police continues to invest in critical areas to tackle crime and drive the recruitment of new officers - a direct result asked for by residents.

PCC Angus Macpherson said: "I do understand, and have taken on board, how the current pandemic that we find ourselves still in the grip of has impacted our county's residents - emotionally and economically. 

"If there was another choice, I would have taken it, but - simply put - there wasn't. If we wanted the Force to continue with investment in our frontline services and policing in the community, we needed this precept increase.

"Engagement with the consultation survey and at the various area boards and parish council meetings attended by me, or my team, in the last month has demonstrated that the majority of people understand the difficulties faced by policing at this time. 

"One of the recurring themes from our county's residents has always been the need to have more officers to tackle crime at a community level.

"I have listened to those representations and am pleased that, in this financial year, the uplift grant from the Government will enable Wiltshire to record its largest number of officers in six years. 

"This is thanks to the support our residents have shown to policing by supporting two consecutive precept rises, alongside uplift funding from central government, and I applaud them for that.

“However, I will still be pressing for a review of the central grant which has consistently left Wiltshire as the third lowest-funded force nationally."

Recruitment of 46 additional officers for Wiltshire in 2021/22 is already underway and the Force is also on track to recruit this year’s target of an additional 65 police officers by March 2021. 

This will take officer numbers to 1,050 - the highest number of Wiltshire Police officers in six years. The additional 46 officers in 2021/22 would see officer numbers rise to 1,096 by March 2022.

Mr Macpherson said the extra precept will take each average Band D household's contribution to policing from £216 a year to £231 a year but he also stressed that, even with the increase, the Force would need to make savings of £584k.  

"Wiltshire and Swindon's residents get significant value for money from their police service but I do appreciate every piece of feedback given - whether it was positive or negative," he added.  

"It is important that we listen to the county's residents, and their experiences of policing, and use this to inform future policies and strategies."  

Consultation responses will be available here soon.