MORE than £16 million is to be raised for Hampshire’s police force after civic chiefs unanimously voted through plans to increase the county’s precept.

Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane, pictured right, confirmed this will allow the force to recruit an extra 200 officers, 65 investigators and an unconfirmed amount of PCSOs.

However, this means that locals will now have to pay an extra £24 a year (for a band-D home) for the 2019/20 financial year.

“This is an opportunity to protect local policing services,” said Mr Lane, who confirmed that 76.38 per cent of the 6,659 people who took part in the consultation supported the increase.

He added that the force is currently facing a £14 million funding shortfall, and if the increase was instead halved to £12 a year, 150 current staff would need to be let go.

Hampshire Chronicle:

Mr Lane said: “There is only one option if we’re to keep our communities and residents safer.

“This increase will raise £16 million of additional funding. Policing in Hampshire is under significant financial pressure. We are underfunded by £14 million compared with the standard force, despite being one of the biggest forces in the country.

“All the additional money raised will go to protecting local policing.”

Mr Lane confirmed he was not looking to bring in another rise in 2020/21. The plans were agreed by all 18 members of the panel.

As previously reported, the increase comes as part of the new national budget allowance, which was unveiled by Nick Hurd, minister for policing, at the end of last year.

He announced that forces across the country would be given a slice of £970 million in extra cash from 2019/20 – with £500 million of this coming from increased precept rates.

This will see the budget increase to £14 billion. Breaking down the £970 million of national funding, £161 million will come from government grants, with a further £150 million will be available to pay into police pension pots.

An extra £59 million will be given towards counter-terror policing.