Police and Crime Commissionerns Â Olly Marti has become the first PCC to trigger a local referendum on the amount of money paid towards local policing.
Commissioner Martins today notified the three Bedfordshire local authorities of the amount they need to collect in Council Tax for the Police Precept. As the amount is an increase of 15.8% compared to 2014/15, and is therefore more than the Government set limit of 2%, a referendum will now take place on the same day as the General Election on 7 May. It would see the Police Precept for a Council Tax Band D property rising by Â£24.80 a year.
If the public vote â€˜Yesâ€™ the Â£4.5million raised will fund 100 additional police officers and mean the return of warranted officers to Neighbourhood Policing Teams in each part of the county, with 30 officers going to Central Bedfordshire, 25 to Luton and 20 in Bedford. Another 25 will be trained to tackle the emerging risks of cyber-enabled crime and child-sexual exploitation.
Commissioner Martins said: â€œIt is important that on 7 May people understand they are being asked whether they support the increase that will be introduced this April rather than a further increase coming in after the vote. Clearly this could be confusing but it is an unfortunate consequence of how the legislation has been written. I would much prefer if the increase came in only after people had the chance to vote on whether they support it.â€