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Last Updated: Friday, 20 January 2006, 19:51 GMT
Government 'hinders' police plan
A town looks set to lose out on an extra 100 police officers as a force stops recruiting because of government restrictions on council tax rises.

Thames Valley Police had hoped to get residents to give more to fund extra bobbies across Berkshire next year, including scores more in Reading.

But the government has limited council tax rises to no more than 5%.

After talks, the force said a budget had not yet been agreed but it hoped to provide an extra 37 officers.

We still very much hope to be able to have more officers and PCSOs on the streets of Thames Valley next year, but the final decision won't be taken until 17 February
Sara Thornton, acting chief constable

Thames Valley residents in a band D property contribute 126 per year towards the cost of policing.

Sara Thornton, acting chief constable of Thames Valley Police, said: "Next year's budget is not yet agreed but the recommendations we made to the authority today [Friday] relate to cuts in growth and not in service.

"The intention is still to provide an extra 37 officers next year.

"In addition, our current proposals provide for 161 extra police staff, which includes 124 more police community support officers and extra staff to work in custody suites, in major crime and other departments which directly support front line policing.

"We still very much hope to be able to have more officers and PCSOs on the streets of Thames Valley next year, but the final decision won't be taken until 17 February."




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