Hertfordshire Constabulary could have some "difficult" financial decisions to make in the wake of the pandemic, according to the Police and Crime Commissioner

The force is funded directly from the Home Office and locally through the council tax precept, levied by the Police and Crime Commissioner.

But at a meeting of the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Panel, commissioner David Lloyd warned that Covid-19 pandemic could have a "significant" impact on the amount raised through the council tax policing levy.

As a result he said that could mean that there will be some "difficult decisions" to make. But because of the way the council tax is set he said it would not be likely to impact until after 2021/22.

In a written report to the panel, he said: "Financially it has been a challenging time for the whole public sector.

"The impact of Covid on Council Tax returns, and therefore income from the policing precept, is still unknown but likely to be significant."

According to the Commissioner’s report, government is continuing to meet the cost of PPE, offering additional support for police overtime due to Covid-19 restrictions and has outlined support to "partially meet lost income".

Mr Lloyd said that this is "essential to the future financial health of the constabulary". He highlighted the potential financial impact of the pandemic at the panel’s virtual meeting earlier this month.

At that meeting he also made reference to the impact local government reform could have on policing in the county. The county council has already commissioned research to explore options for local government reform – in advance of the government’s expected white paper.

And that research has suggested that replacing the county council and the 10 district and borough councils with a single ‘unitary’ council could save the county as much as £142m a year.

According to Mr Lloyd local government reform could change the nature of policing in the county and he indicated that if there were no longer ‘boroughs’, there may not be borough-based policing.

At the meeting it was reported that the total police officer ‘headcount’ as of 30 September is 2187 – which is 94 more than on April 1.