THE public have backed plans to raise Hampshire’s police precept tax, in a bid to get more cash to frontline officers.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire Michael Lane revealed that 76% of responses to the public consultation were in favour of the £2 per month rise.

The plans will now be presented to the Police and Crime Panel next Friday (Jan 25) for approval.

If put through, locals will pay an extra £24 a year (for a Band D property) to the force through their local council tax.

Mr Lane has promised that the money will protect recruiting and training and see an additional 200 new police officers, and around 60 Police Staff Investigators join the force.

The proposals have also gained support from Hampshire Constabulary’s Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, the Hampshire Police Federation, UNISON and local Neighbourhood Watch teams.

Mr Lane said: “Listening to, and responding to, the people I represent, is a core part of my role and the views expressed as part of my consultation have helped to inform my proposal for an increase in the policing element of the council tax. I would like to thank all of those people who took part and gave me their views.

“The consultation has shown that the community value the police, and that they recognise that the service is stretched and in need of additional resources.

“Delivering modern operationally effective policing to keep us safe and defeat the greatest threats, while responding to community priorities is not an easy task in times of financial constraint, growing complexity and necessary change programmes to try to keep us ahead of criminals and those who wish us harm.

“I am clear, and the Chief Constable is clear in her recommendations to me, that to protect current police services we must take full advantage of the settlement. All of the increase in the policing precept will be used to support local policing, and will enable the recruitment of just over 200 officers.”

Chief Constable Pinkney added: “The constabulary has been consulted and supports this budget. We are particularly delighted that so many members of the public have also expressed their support for policing. I would like to say thank you to every one of them.

“Focusing on detecting and preventing high harm offences is crucial to our local policing service, and investing to improve our investigations capability will see more victims of the most serious crimes get justice. Many criminals deliberately operate away from the public eye. They cause misery themselves and create the conditions for young and vulnerable people to get involved in drugs, violence and lower level crime. This has a very visible impact on our communities. These plans set us on the right track to tackle this.

“Without the additional local funding that our Police and Crime Commissioner is recommending, police numbers would be reduced to an unsustainable level. With this funding we can push ahead with plans to recruit 200 officers, and more police staff investigators.”