RESIDENTS will face a tax hike to fund more police officers across the county, raising a total of £7m for the force.

Plans proposed by Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane to increase the force’s council tax percept by £10 for 2020/21 have been given the green light.

Police bosses said the increase will allow the force to recruit 94 new police officers and implement the recruitment of the 156 officers promised by the Government last year.

The tax hike represents a 4.96% increase to the Band D precept and is the maximum increase possible without a referendum.

This means the current Band D council tax precept for Hampshire Constabulary will rise from £201.46 to £211.46.

The PCC said this will also allow more investment in the contact centres to ensure 999 and 101 calls are handled more effectively.

As previously reported, the force is also expected to invest £1.37m in more vehicles and an extra £1.77m on training.

Cllr Dave Shields, cabinet member for healthier and safer city at Southampton City Council, is asking for a “fair share” of the new officers to be deployed to Southampton.

It comes as last month figures revealed that crime rate in the city has gone up for the fifth year in a row.

Cllr Shields said he will soon meet with the Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney.

He added: “Taxpayers are paying this money should we not have a say on where these officers should be? I would want to see the additional police deployed to these areas where crime is greatest. We are now getting some resources available let’s make sure it goes to the places where it is needed most. Southampton is one of these.”

The news comes as the force also increased its percept last year to fund 200 new police officers. PCC Michael Lane said: “This year the increase will enable Hampshire Constabulary to continue the journey begun last year to greater effectiveness and visibility of policing in our area.”

Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney added: “The extra funding will help us to ensure that the additional officers and staff we are recruiting are as effective as possible in protecting our local communities.”

The plans were approved by the Hampshire’s Police and Crime Panel. Cllr David Stewart, chairman of the panel, said the investment shows the PCC's commitment to keeping communities safe.