TODAY (Thursday, February 1), the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Panel met to consider the Police and Crime Commissioner’s proposed increase in the council tax precept - the money collected from council tax specifically for policing.

The panel deliberated for over three hours, before agreeing that an annual increase of £13 for an average Band D property in the force area was needed to deliver an 'outstanding police service'.

Panel members were reportedly mindful of the many financial challenges many residents will face this year when making the decision, and members at the meeting had the opportunity to robustly scrutinise the proposed budget and how the funds would be spent.

Councillor Heather Shearer, the Panel’s Chair, said: “Our approval is contingent on several concerns being addressed including evidence that the extra investment is making a tangible difference. 

"Success will be judged on the information and assurances that are made available by the Commissioner and taken into account when the Panel meets to consider next year’s proposal.

“It is essential that the Panel and the public can accurately judge the commissioner’s performance against the priorities and objectives in his Police and Crime Plan.

"The additional investment from the precept increase has to deliver real improvements in the service available to local communities.

"We will continue to press for this assurance.”

The Panel’s statutory report and detailed reasoning for its decision will be available on its website here from Thursday, February 8 2024.