A £24 a year increase in the cost for each Dorset household is expected to be given the backing of the police and crime panel on Friday.

Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill says there is widespread public support for the rise.

But he warns that even with the increase, which will push the annual bill for an 'average' band D house to £230.58, the county will still struggle to maintain services.

Mr Underhill says balancing the budget has been made more difficult by pay and pension awards which were not fully funded by the Government.

The PCC says that, at the time of writing his report, 69 per cent of respondents have expressed a

willingness to pay an additional £2 per month to support local policing. An even higher proportion of respondents – 85% – agreed that policing in Dorset requires more investment.

If approved it will give the Dorset force a budget of almost £134.7 million – of which £67.78 will come from council tax payers.

The county currently has the equivalent of 1,211 officers – but is expected expected to lose 75 during the year from normal retirements (41), ill health (5) and resignations and transfers (29) – funding for 82 coming in, 70 probationers and 12 transfers or direct entry.

Plans are also being made for a £1m ‘ Innovation Fund’ will be made available for specific areas of investment such as additional officers in the rural and marine crime teams, and enhancing

offender management capability; the introduction of a ‘Bobby Van’, addressing crime prevention and investment in the new Volunteer Police Cadet scheme.

Action is also planned to improve road safety and to tackling issues associated with homelessness, and to employ an Efficiency Officer’ designed to identify and improve future efficiencies

In a report to the police and crime panel councillors will be told: “Dorset Police have an excellent track record in delivering efficiencies, having delivered in excess of £40m savings and efficiencies since 2010. The 2019/20 budget includes a net savings target of £250k for Service Area Reviews, and a further requirement for £0.4m savings from procurement.”