GLOUCESTERSHIRE's Police and Crime Panel has accepted the commissioner’s first proposed budget today.

It will mean a two per cent increase in council tax which will add an extra £3.99 to the annual bill for a Band D property - or eight pence a week.

In the budget, the total cost of the county’s police and criminal justice services is £102,686,275.

It includes about £900,000 to help protect frontline policing against future cuts which the Government has warned will be introduced next year and in subsequent years.

It also includes about £2m to fund community safety initiatives in line with promises made during the PCC election.

Community groups and organisations in the county will be invited to bid for a share of the money to develop crime reduction and community safety work.

Martin Surl, the county's first police and crime commissioner, said: “It’s been a very tight deadline coming so soon after the election, but I’m pleased the panel has given me its support.

“It is a relatively modest increase but one that will have a big impact on our ability to reduce crime and increase peace and good order in the county.

“I am not putting up council tax to replace funding cuts, as has been suggested. This is a responsible, forward-looking budget that will help us build better communities and to achieve that, I want local organisations to come forward with their ideas and I will help finance the best.

“This is not just about giving money to the police, it is for the good of the people of Gloucestershire.

"A two per cent council tax rise will provide stability for a couple of years and give us time to pause for breath and carefully plan for the future, which includes preparing for the further cuts that are proposed in this financial strategy."

Gloucestershire’s Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said the budget and two per cent increase was good for crime reduction, policing and community safety in the short and long-term.

“I am pleased that the Police and Crime Panel has supported the Commissioner’s budget proposals which will put us in a much stronger position to deliver the Police and Crime plan and support the future viability of the Constabulary,” she said.