THE number of police officers and Pcsos working in neighbourhood teams in Hertfordshire will be protected over the coming financial year.

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That was the pledge from Hertfordshire Police Authority as it met to agree the police budget.

At Thursday’s meeting, the body agreed to freeze its council tax precept – the only police authority in the eastern region to do so – allowing it to access an additional £2m central government grant.

Band D homeowners will pay £2.84 per week towards policing through their council tax.

The police authority must make savings of up to £38.5m over a four-year period.

Ways this will be achieved include strategic alliance with Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire police authorities; and changes to the estates strategy, so that buildings are used more efficiently and effectively.

David Lloyd, chairman of the police authority, said: “Achieving the required savings over the coming years is a challenge, but one that the police authority is well placed to manage.

“The authority and the chief constable have worked together to ensure every penny is well utilised, enabling us to buck the trend for increases set by other authorities.”

The police authority will cease to exist in the autumn, when its responsibilities are taken over by a new, elected police and crime commissioner.

Cllr Lloyd added: “In the last nine months of its existence the police authority will continue to ensure that the performance of Hertfordshire Constabulary remains strong until we hand over to the elected police and crime commissioner in November.”

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