NEWLY announced funding has been welcomed by the Police & Crime Commissioner.

In the announcement made by government; it was revealed that Wiltshire and Swindon would benefit from 62 new officers through a national uplift scheme.

This increase in officers assumes that the PCC will take the maximum precept rise in the policing portion of council tax.

Wiltshire Times: Philip Wilkinson, Swindon and Wiltshire Police & Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson, Swindon and Wiltshire Police & Crime Commissioner

PCC, Philip Wilkinson said: “On the face of it, yesterday’s announcement is a positive step in the right direction but it is important that residents realise the figures released yesterday include the assumption that I will take the maximum precept increase and includes the uplift grant to recruit 62 extra officers to Wiltshire.

“That said, I am delighted Wiltshire will have those extra officers to enable us to make positive impacts in our communities, aid the fight against crime and ensure criminals know Wiltshire isn’t a soft option.

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"Wiltshire is the fourth lowest-funded force in the country and ensuring we get our fair share will always be top of my agenda. However, we also need to ensure what funding we do have is used efficiently and focused on the front-line and delivery.”

Between 2010 and 2018 austerity cuts saw a total drop of 15 per cent in officer numbers across the south west, according to Unison.

Since 2018, officer numbers will have risen from 934 to 1096 by March 2022, the office of the PCC said.

These additional officers have been paid for by the rise in the police precept.

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According to Mr Wilkinson, he will not be able to ask for more than £10 more from Band D houses – a rise of 4.3 per cent.

Mr Wilkinson added: “This year has been another incredibly tough one with the economic impact from the pandemic still being felt in many corners of our communities. We know that any increase will be felt keenly.

“No decision has yet been made but delivering the police service that you have asked me to do will be my top priority throughout all of our considerations. You have used your voice and I am listening."