The advertised figure of a £9 million increase in police funding for Swindon and Wiltshire will mostly have to be found by council tax payers.

And Wiltshire police and crime commissioner Angus Macpherson believes that many people will be happy to pay a significant amount more to fund extra police officers.

Figures released by the Home Office say the county force’s total budget for 2019-20 will increase from £109.2m this year to £118.3m - a £9.1m increase.

But included in those figures is an assumed increase to the council tax precept levied by the Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner of £24 on a Band D property.

That’s twice the £12 increase levied last year, and makes up more than £6.5m of the announced increase.

Mr Macpherson said: “Last year I wasn’t able to hire any more officers - but I did promise not to cut any more and we managed to do that despite some very significant and unforeseen events in the county.

“The announcement by the Home Office now gives me the flexibility that I didn’t have then.”

The commissioner said he would be speaking to people across Wiltshire and Swindon about making a significant increase, which would take the police precept for a Band D house to more than £200 for the first time.

He said: “I will be consulting the public on such an increase. Having been given the opportunity to use it to increase the number of police officers in the force, I think it would be churlish of me to ignore it.”

More officers on the front line is the priority for any extra funding, Mr Macpherson added. He said: “I want to increase the force by 38 more officers across Swindon and Wiltshire. They will be on the front line. Included in that will be a new digital crime unit, which will concentrate on child sexual exploitation and fraud.

“That might sound more front room than front line - but it isn’t. Those crimes can affect any of us, wherever we are, and battling that really is front line policing.”

Budget and precept proposals will be published by the commissioner’s office and put out for consultation until February.

Mr Macpherson added: “Some people won’t like it - they’ll want a £12 cut in the precept - but I have spoken to many people across the county and Swindon over the last year and they’ve all seen the cuts that have been made over the years, and I hope that most will welcome the ability to pay for 38 more officers to be on the front line of policing - because I promise that’s what the money will be used for.”

The difference between a £12 increase in the police precept next year and a £24 hike is £3.5m

The finalised increase in the police precept will be announced in March and be added to precepts for the fire service, individual parish councils and that of Swindon council. It is the council which sends out the new bills in April, collects the money and shares it out.