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Twenty new officers to be in place by October, funded by tax increase

PUBLISHED: 05:30 07 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:07 07 September 2019

The constabulary said it was on track to ensure additional funding was spent wisely and in line with promises to the public  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The constabulary said it was on track to ensure additional funding was spent wisely and in line with promises to the public Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Police have revealed how the extra contributions of taxpayers has been spent since their share of household bills increased earlier this year.

In April, police and crime commissioners (PCCs) were given freedom to increase their share of council tax by more than 2% without requiring a referendum.

Suffolk's PCC Tim Passmore requested a 6.8% precept rise - adding an average £12 to annual household bills and generating an extra £2.9million for the budget.

The loosening of the 2% cap came as the government announced that more than half (£270m) of £450m in funding for all police forces would have to be raised from local tax rises.

After obligatory cost pressures, including increased employer pension contributions, against planned savings for 2019/20, the chief constable was left with £4.843m to spend on additional technology and resources, including 29 officers, 24 investigators, a share of 45 staff with Norfolk Constabulary.

A significant number of posts will be filled in coming weeks, with eight constables due to enter Ipswich safer neighbourhood teams by the end of September.

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Four of the posts were created for the Youth Gang Prevention Unit (YGPU), while two community engagement officers will provide more visibility and engagement.

The first of three 'Operation Sentinel' teams, launched at the end of May, has so far made more than 80 arrests for offences including drug supply, fraud, disqualified driving and unlawful possession of firearms.

Teams in the east and south of the county will be effective from September 16 - filling the remaining 12 of 21 additional posts dedicated to targeting organised crime on the road network.

Meanwhile, 18 of an originally proposed 24 police staff investigators are due to begin work by the end of October.

At a meeting of the PCC's accountability and performance panel, Mr Passmore said the precept rise had enabled the constabulary to avoid digging itself out of a financial "black hole".

He said the results of work by the first Operational Sentinel team had been very positive, adding: "I'm impressed with the figures.

"Anything that makes Suffolk a hostile place to criminals is something I support."

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