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  1. ITV Report

West Country police forces receive 'biggest funding boost in a decade'

Police forces across the West Country have been promised the "biggest funding boost in a decade".

The Government has pledged to increase funding by more than £1.1 billion - which means around 6,000 new officers can be recruited across the country.

In the West Country it means a rise of more than £74 million in police funding in total compared to 2019/20.

It is the biggest increase in funding for the police system in a decade, but critics say it isn't enough to reverse cuts during the past decade.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR OUR FORCES?

£23.4m
for Avon and Somerset Police
£24.3m
for Devon and Cornwall Police
£9.6m
for Dorset Police
£8.4m
for Gloucestershire Police
£9.1m
for Wiltshire Police

The money can only be guaranteed if council tax payers are asked to pay the maximum police precept.

It's hoped extra officers will be stationed on the beat. Credit: PA Images

The money will mean around 423 officers recruited across the West Country.

Martin Surl, PCC for Gloucestershire Police says the money will help the Constabulary reach its recruitment target of 300 new officers and staff by 2023.

This is the first increase in Government funding since 2010, that meant savings of £32 million had to be made.

I applaud the financial management of the Constabulary during 2019, as despite increased demand the Constabulary has balanced its budget, meaning all new funding can now be directed towards growing the front line.

– Martin Surl, Gloucestershire Police PCC

Devon and Cornwall's PCC Alison Hernandez says she is optimistic about the funding increase. She added that initial money from the government has meant the force has been able to recruit an extra 47 officers on top of the 126 funded by the council tax precept.

Angus Macpherson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon said the money means the force can "significantly invest in this vital public service".

He added: "I am aware that the public of Wiltshire and Swindon want to see more police and this additional funding will drive the recruitment of new officers, as well as allowing us to invest in other critical areas to tackle crime and emerging threats.

“The flexibility to increase the policing precept, alongside the announcement from central government, means we can significantly invest in this vital public service.

"The small increase of £10 per year, for an average household, will mean more money to enhancing community policing in our neighbourhood areas. This is in addition to the extra 49 police officers we will deliver in Wiltshire as part of the government’s Uplift Programme to recruit 20,000 new police by March 2023.

“This is a very positive step but I will continue to work with government to reform the unfair police funding formula, which leaves our service underfunded, so we can deliver a modern police service fit to serve the communities of Wiltshire and Swindon."

The money will enabled West Country forces to recruit extra officers. Credit: PA Images