Police and Crime Commissioner has hit out at criticism of his promise to raise police numbers.

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has expressed his frustration that his promise to raise police numbers has been “misunderstood by certain political groups.”

He was responding to reports casting doubts on his pledge to increase front line officer numbers by 75, using money raised from the council tax precept.

Addressing the Community Safety and Waste Management Panel meeting at Hertford’s County Hall on March 15 he said: “It is frustrating that, as one of the few Police and Crime Commissioners to have increased police numbers since I took office, there continue to be questions raised about whether the figures quoted are genuine.

“This misinformation, propagated for political purposes, is irresponsible and does nothing to help the public understand the context of policing.

“Hertfordshire is a safe place to live and work and it will continue to be a safe place to live and work, and it is unhelpful for factually incorrect messages to seek to undermine that.

“I will reiterate that the establishment number of frontline officers has increased by 75 due to the precept increase.

“The day to day reality is that the actual number of officers fluctuates due to recruitment, retirement and to account for those not currently fit for active duty.”

During the meeting, he was also asked if he thought rising knife crime was linked to police numbers.

He replied: “I don’t think that anyone who carries a knife does it on the basis of whether they think more or fewer officers are on the street

“Hertfordshire is a safe place and you are really unlikely to be a victim of knife crime.

“However, knife crime is an emerging threat and we need to ensure we continue to be on top of it and it doesn’t become a bigger issue.

“The term knife crime is unhelpful. If you say there has been a 44 per cent increase in knife crime most people would think it is people who have been stabbed.

“It actually relates to the carrying of a bladed object – and if you have a really good police operation and more people are stopped with knives, that will show as an increase in knife crime.

“It doesn’t mean that as a member of the public you are more at risk, indeed targeting of knife crime by the police means you are less at risk.”

Mr Lloyd told the meeting that earlier this month he had funded a major new initiative to tackle knife and serious violent crime across the county.

The £280,000 scheme aims to safeguard 200 children and young adults in Hertfordshire who are at risk of being drawn into gang activity and other serious offending.

Mr Lloyd approved a £140,000 Community Safety Grant from his office which will be matched by Hertfordshire County Council and District Councils.

The money will be used to recruit additional SOS St Giles’ Trust youth project workers over the next year who will focus on early intervention and targeted help for young people at risk.