THE blocking of a massive tax hike to support North Yorkshire Police has "disappointed" Julia Mulligan.

Plans to increase the police precept by 10.3 per cent - an average of £23.92 per year per household - were shot down by the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel on Tuesday, despite the Commissioner's pledge that the funding would be used to return frontline officer numbers to those last seen in 2010.

Mrs Mulligan said she was pleased the panel agreed for an increase in the Fire Service precept - 2.99 per cent, £2.08 per household per year - but she was "naturally disappointed" the police precept was not approved.

She said "a huge amount of work" had gone into the police proposal, which Mrs Mulligan felt was particularly difficult "given the short timescales we are given to work to".

Mrs Mulligan said: "My proposals were crystal clear about boosting visible policing by an additional 50 police officers and 20 PCSOs, bringing North Yorkshire Police almost back to 2010 levels of resources.

"Those new resources would then be split between additional officers and PCSOs for local and visible policing teams across the county to tackle offences like burglaries and anti-social behaviour, a new ‘city task force’ for York, more work on mental health and brand new teams focusing on prevention and early intervention. It is disappointing that this was not enough to convince the panel that my proposals were the right thing for our communities."

The veto on the tax rise comes days after the results of a survey showed North Yorkshire Police were ranked lowest among key services by residents across the region, who also felt the force was focusing on the wrong types of crime.

According to the 2018 Neighbourhood Policing Survey, respondents said they were most concerned about "irresponsible vehicle use, burglary, rowdy behaviour, drug supply/taking and fraud" - rather than the force's Government-mandated priorities of "child sexual exploitation, online crime, human trafficking, serious violence and terrorism".

The panel said there was a lack of assurance about where the extra money would be spent, and echoed the public's concern that neighbourhood policing levels had declined along with public confidence.

Members said they were "especially disappointed" that the commissioner and police officers gave the panel new information on the day of the meeting, so that there was "little time to take on board the issues and hold the commissioner to account", but the panel would welcome more detail about how savings could be made.

Councillor Carl Les, chair of the panel, said: “We understand the public’s need to have a more visible policing presence in York and North Yorkshire.

"But an increase of more than 10 per cent is simply too much to ask people to pay without further information about how aspects of local policing will be improved."

The panel expressed concerns about the public survey, but accepted that the precept money would be held in a policing priorities fund and only released by the commissioner on the production of a successful business case.

Taking to social media after the meeting, Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain said: "Disappointed with myself that we didn't get the support of the panel because my team worked so hard to put together a proposal which we all believe in. Sorry team. #TryHarderPhil"

The panel set a reserve date of February 21 for consideration of a revised precept proposal.