Please see below a message from Stuart Nagler, Chair of Hertfordshire Police Authority which we are circulating on their behalf.

Dear Colleague

I wanted to let you know the outcome of our consultations on Council Tax and what our decision will mean for services in the county.

On Tuesday (23 February) the Police Authority agreed to increase the policing element of Council Tax by 3.5% and to draw on £630,000 of our reserves.  This means that someone living in a band D property will pay £147.82 for policing in their Council Tax bill for 2010/11, an increase of £5 year (just under 10p a week). 

In making our decision, we considered very carefully the feedback we have received, both from our public survey and from representations and discussions with our stakeholders.  We weighed up the need to maintain the high standards of policing, which the public tell us they expect, with the need to limit the financial burden we place on our residents. 

The result will mean that, for the next year at least, our Neighbourhood Policing Teams can be maintained.  This includes continued match funding for the PCSOs funded by our partners.  The Authority believes that these Teams play a key role in providing public reassurance and building confidence – something we are all striving to achieve. 

The settlement agreed will also enable the Constabulary to sustain its current high levels of performance and tackle the challenges we have set them in our Policing Plan for 2010/13, which will be launched at the end of March.

However, it will also mean significant savings will need to be found.  These will be achieved mainly through the development of existing and new collaborative ventures with Bedfordshire Police and other forces, which are projected to save £2.5m in the coming year.  The Constabulary’s change programme will save a further £2.4m and aims to create a new Local Policing Command Unit and centralise the support and management of a range of services, including custody and roads policing.  The Police Authority has also frozen its administrative budget, including members’ allowances, for the coming year. 

There will be a loss of around 100 posts and the Constabulary will work with the affected staff and union representatives to keep redundancies to a minimum.  The total number of police officers will remain above 2,000.

Hertfordshire is one of the top performing forces in the country and consistently delivers results – there has been a 20% reduction in crime in the last five years and detections are at an all-time high.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support for policing in the county.  I know together we can continue to make Hertfordshire a safer county.

Yours sincerely
Stuart Nagler JP DL
Hertfordshire Police Authority