COMMENT: Council tax rise was my only option to pay for more police officers

Derbyshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa.
Derbyshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa.

People always tell me that they want to see more police officers. That will now be a reality, writes Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Local politicians have previously criticised falling police numbers yet the very same people have now done a 180 degree turn and are criticising me for using the only means at my disposal to do this.

Yes, the money for these officers has been raised via the Government’s policy on the council tax.

Without it, we would be looking at further, large, reductions in numbers.

So, at a national level, the Government advocates one policy, but local politicians another. Does this mean yet another rift in an already war-torn party?

I wish that the Government had chosen to increase our central grant funding.  But that decision lies in Westminster, not Derbyshire.

However, I’ve been astonished to find a number of Conservative councillors trying to make political gain, using their own Government’s answer to the funding crisis in policing as a weapon. 

Let me be clear.  Increasing the amount of council tax you pay towards policing by £24 was not my preferred option, but it was my only option.

Decisions about policing should be based on what is right, not political expediency.

I assure you, there will be a visible difference. But even with an additional 120 police officers and staff our numbers will still be the best part of 600 people down than in 2010, when the cuts began.

There will also be people who say they knew nothing about the increase.  We went to great lengths to make the options widely known.  We used all sorts of different media.

But nothing is perfect, so how can I improve the way I communicate with you?  We can no longer afford to deliver leaflets through every door, that would cost more than a PCSO these days, and I believe the PCSO is more important.

People tell me they want news tailored to their area delivered to them personally.  So we set up Derbyshire Alert.  It works, but not everyone uses it.  So, please, tell me what works best for you.

Because, if we can communicate, we can do more, together, to shape the type of police service you want to see.