COUNTY councillors have agreed a contentious rise in the so-called police precept - the council tax which goes towards funding North Yorkshire Police.

Julia Mulligan, the police, fire and crime commissioner for North Yorkshire, had originally sought a rise of 46p per week, or £23.95 per year (10.3 per cent) to the police precept.

But at a meeting of the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel on February 5, councillors vetoed the proposed increase, saying they needed more detail on how it would be spent.

At another meeting of the panel today, however, members approved an increase of an average of 44p per week (£22.95 per year) to the police precept - just £1 lower than the original figure.

Julia Mulligan's office said that the additional money will be used by the chief constable to increase the number of frontline staff by an additional 50 police officers and 20 PCSOs.

Ms Mulligan also criticised the Government for "passing on" the burden of adequately funding the police to local authorities.

She said: "I am pleased that we now have certainty on the level of investment which will be available to North Yorkshire Police to support the plans to boost local and visible policing across the county.

"Asking residents to pay more money is never easy, and the decision was not taken lightly, but I am certain it is the right one to ensure we keep North Yorkshire safe and feeling safe.

“I share the Panel’s discomfort about the level of the rise. I believe the Government’s decision to pass on the responsibility of adequately funding the police to local taxpayers has placed an unfair additional burden on the public of North Yorkshire, who already pay a lot for their local police service."

For more details on what Ryedale taxpayers can expect to pay from April, see the Gazette & Herald on Wednesday.