PLANS for a tax hike aimed at funding  more police officers and fight crime in Hampshire have been given the green light.

The policing precept of the council tax will increase by £15 per annum,  raising an additional £10m  for Hampshire Constabulary in 2021/22.

This means that the Band D council tax precept for the force will rise from £211.46 to £226.46.

The proposals were approved by the Hampshire Police and Crime Panel held this morning.

County bosses raised concerns over the impact the rise will have on residents.

But they also acknowledged the need for more support for the police.

During the meeting, Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said the tax rise will help fund 146 additional police officers to be deployed across Hampshire and seven new officers in the Regional Organised Crime Unit.

The money will also help potentially investigate 26,000 more crimes, arrest an extra 300 “of the most dangerous organised criminals” who run county lines drug crime across Hampshire and prevent about 1,000 crimes.

Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said: “This budget is essential and enables us  to do more operational policing. It measn we can do even more to tackle drug related crime.

As previously reported,  Hampshire residents were previously asked to have their say in the increase.

Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane said: “It is very clear to me that our public are seeking more. The significant majority of those who answered the survey declared that they understand the agreement we are making and they were willing to help us.”

Members of the panel pledged to monitor the investment.

However, Richard Murphy, a Liberal Democrat candidate for the role, said that the increase would not change Hampshire being “a poorly funded area” for policing, receiving £43.5 million less than the national average from the government.

He said: “Unbelievably, while the government boasts of funding new officers, the £2.6m additional funding from central government pays salaries but does not cover the costs of equipping and training these new officers. The force is already needing to plan for cuts elsewhere in future years to be able to pay for the higher numbers of officers coming through.