ISLE OF WIGHT residents will face an average £15 increase to their council tax bill for policing.
The police precept will increase by 7.1 per cent, which equates to 29p a week, £1.25 a month or £15 a year for a Band D property.
The decision was agreed today at a meeting of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Police and Crime Panel.
It was noted, however, 66.1 per cent of houses across Hampshire and the Island are in Band A to C, so increases to payments will start at £10.
Hampshire Constabulary’s chief constable Olivia Pinkney said it is an opportunity the police force could not afford to miss as she is ‘uncomfortable with the areas’ that are currently missing out, due to continuous underfunding.
She said: “I know there are criminals making people’s lives a misery and I would like to do more than we are currently able to do.
“I do not ask for this increase lightly but it allows me, as I have never been able to do before, to take the fight to the criminals.”
With the increase, the chief constable promised 146 new officers across the two counties to help provide a visible presence in communities, prevent crime and investigate more, while also investing in tackling county lines drug offences and the backlog in the criminal justice system.
On the Island, there will also be investment in the police estate.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight police crime commissioner, Michael Lane, said the budget is not only for the here and now but also helps the constabulary prepare for further challenges.
He also said he was very conscious of the effect the pandemic has had on residents and the ‘stretched economy’ but after considering funding scenarios, the 7.1 per cent increase was all he could recommend.
Members of the panel echoed concerns of affordability for residents but unanimously approved the precept increase.
The police precept is taken as part of resident’s council tax along with the social care, fire and local town and parish council precepts.
The Isle of Wight Council is expected to announce its budget, and subsequent council tax funding, in February.