Matthew Barber’s spending plans for Thames Valley Police will improve neighbourhood policing and increase visibility while keeping the council tax rise at just 25p per week for a Band D household
Matthew Barber (Police & Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley) has set out his policing budget for 2024/25 which will see continued investment in frontline policing with a further increase in police officer numbers.
Spending plans will see an increase of £13 a year in Council Tax contributions in 2024/25 for a Band D property. Thames Valley Police are due to receive £294m of central Government funding in 2024/25, which is a rise of 5.6% compared to 2023. However, the cost of rising inflation on the policing budget for the year is estimated to reach £37m.
In setting the budget, Matthew Barber said: “As your Police and Crime Commissioner, it is my responsibility to ensure that Thames Valley Police has the resources to effectively prevent and investigate crime, support victims and protect communities from harm.
“I am conscious of the current cost of living pressures on households. However, alongside this, economic pressures such as high utility, fuel, and vehicle costs are also continuing to significantly impact policing budgets despite a rise in government funding.
“In order to continue to keep our communities safe and to address the policing priorities of residents identified through my ongoing local crime survey, I have made the decision to increase Council Tax contributions by 25p per week for a Band D property.
“Through this, investment in policing will focus on the priorities that matter to residents with strengthened neighbourhood policing and crime prevention.”
The 2024/25 policing budget will include investment in the following areas:
- Funding for an additional 150 police officers across the force, including neighbourhood officers; priority crime teams to tackle burglaries, theft and shoplifting; and an increase in the Rural Crime Taskforce
- Thames Valley wide Operation Deter Youth programme to help tackle and deter young people from knife crime
- Thames Valley wide cyber awareness activity to help protect the public and businesses from cybercrime and fraud
- New investment to tackle retail crime
- Long-term investment in local community safety initiatives with local authorities
- Continued investment in Thames Valley-wide CCTV partnership
- Road safety initiatives across the Thames Valley
- Preventing reoffending through the Restart programme
- Continued investment in the forensic improvement programme
- Long-term investment in technology and infrastructure
Matthew continued: “Thames Valley has more police officers than ever before, exceeding the target set by the Home Office for police officer recruitment, with a further 150 additional officers now funded through this year’s budget. This builds upon my pledge of recruiting additional police officers to ensure Thames Valley Police grows as our population increases.
“In addition, the budget will allow for investment in other key areas. This will include nearly £1million funding to roll-out the Operation Deter youth engagement programme across the force area to help tackle knife crime, £500,000 allocated to support road safety activity, additional funding to tackle the rise in retail crime as well as the continuation of funding for services to reduce reoffending and support victims of crime.”
Over 3,500 residents responded to the ongoing local crime survey (6 April 2023 to 6 January 2024). Participants were asked ‘If council tax increases, which areas would you most like to see your contribution used for?’ The following table demonstrates which areas were selected the most times:
If Council Tax increases, which areas would you most like to see your contribution used for?
|Area you would like to see your contribution used for
|Amount of times selected by respondents
|Neighbourhood Policing – increase uniformed visibility in the community
|Crime Prevention – work at community level to support local efforts to reduce neighbourhood crimes
|Police Investigation – improve the quality of police investigations with better outcomes and improved satisfaction amongst victims
|Response times – Improve response times and meet increased demand for policing service
|Drug Offences – disrupt drug markets and county lines
|Road Safety – roads policing (tackling drink/drug driving and speeding), improve ways for residents to send evidence of dangerous driving such as dash cam footage, community speedwatch
|Serious and Organised Crime – ensure the police force has the necessary resources to respond to serious and organised crime threats (firearms, drugs, child criminal exploitation, fraud, economic crime, cyber, modern slavery and human trafficking)
|Safety of women and girls – specific investment to tackle violence against women and girls
|Fraud/Online crime – cyber-crime and digital investigation capabilities
|Reporting crime – make it easier to report crime on 101 or online and enhance call handling capacity
|Technology – modern technology to enable front line policing to respond more efficiently and effectively to crime and to calls for help
|Business Crime (including shoplifting) – more work with local businesses such as providing targeted crime prevention advice.
|Victims Services – increased support for victims of personal and high harm crimes such as rape and sexual assault
|Rural Crime – work to understand and respond to the specific needs of rural communities
|Counter Terrorism – more activity to pursue, prevent, protect and prepare for counter terrorism incidents.
|Special Constabulary/police volunteers – providing better equipment and enhanced training and support for Citizens in Policing
|Police buildings – buildings and equipment to ensure they are fit for purpose
|Hate Crime – prevention work and encouraging / supporting the reporting of all forms of hate crime
The budget will be presented to the Performance & Accountability (PAM) public meeting on Thursday 18th January and the Police & Crime Panel on Friday 26th January before being finalised.
Notes to Editors
For further information about the PCC’s Police and Criminal Justice Plan or finances, visit www.thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk.
For further details about the Performance & Accountability (PAM) meeting, visit https://www.thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk/our-information/meeting-and-decision-making/.
For further details about the Police & Crime Panel meeting, visit https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/community-and-safety/thames-valley-police-and-crime-panel/.
Proposed Council Tax bands for 2024/25 are as follows: