PEOPLE will have to pay on average an extra £12 to pay for policing in Avon and Somerset in the year from April.

The increase proposed by Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens has been backed by the Police and Crime Panel.

She said the rise would help protect nieghbourhood policing.

Ms Mountstevens said: "I have been lobbying hard to secure the best possible funding arrangements for policing.

"The Government made it clear in December that an increasing proportion of policing costs will have to be met by local council taxpayers.

“I am pleased that the panel has supported my decision. However I recognise that any increase in household bills will be felt by residents.

"I want to assure local communities that the policing you receive on a local level through your neighbourhood policing teams will be unchanged thanks to the increase.

“I know that neighbourhood policing teams are important to local residents and I believe it is right to enable the Chief Constable to focus his resources in the areas that local people tell me matter most to them.

"The constabulary will recruit 300 police officers this year and it is also their ambition for every primary school to be assigned a named PCSO and every secondary school a named PCSO or beat manager.

"Neighbourhood policing is at the heart of our communities and is essential to ensuring Avon and Somerset remains a safe place to live and work.”

The policing part of the council tax is just over 10 per cent of the overall council tax bill.

From April, the average Band D property will pay £193.81 a year towards policing.