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Friday, 14 February, 2003, 19:31 GMT
Police get council tax increase
police generic
Police are aiming for 70 more officers
Council tax payers in Devon and Cornwall are to pay 40% more to fund the police force next year.

Every household in the two counties will have to pay an extra 57p a week.

That is almost double last year's increase, and will take the average band D Council Tax to 103 a year for policing.

That figure will form part of total council tax bills in Devon and Cornwall for the coming year.

HAVE YOUR SAY
tax form
I must register No to the proposed increase by the chief constable

B Cooper, Tavistock
Devon County Council wants an 18% rise to an average of more than 1,000 and council tax payers in Cornwall could be facing rises of more than 14%.

According to a recent police consultation exercise, people want more officers on the beat, and said they are prepared to pay for them.

About 1.5m of the proposed budget for next year would be to recruit another 70 police officers.

That would mean the force would increase to 3,003 officers by March 2004.

There will also be increased investment to improve the handling of phone calls from the public.

Better policing

The deputy leader of Devon County Council, Brian Greenslade, says the extra funding will lead to better policing.

He said: "All of these things are factors that people tell us that they want to see happen."

One of the few criticisms the HM Inspector of Constabulary made about the force last year was about the "resolution of non-emergency calls".

Devon and Cornwall Chief Constable Maria Wallis said: "If I get 57p a week, that will enable me to have a slight increase in the services we provide.

"But at the same time, of course, I'm reviewing how we spend every other penny to make sure we're making the best of what I'm given."


Click here to go to BBC Cornwall

Click here to go to Devon
See also:

11 Feb 03 | England
10 Feb 03 | England
29 Jan 03 | England
21 Nov 02 | England
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