Precept message from David Jamieson:
PCC’s priorities and tough choices mean that officer recruitment will proceed and PCSOs will be protected from redundancy
West Midlands Police will be able to continue with its recruitment of 450 new officers and PCSOs will remain in place following a series of tough budget decisions.
Over the last five years, the force has faced £130 million in cuts – the highest proportion in the whole country – and government funding has been slashed by £2.5million this year too.
As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2015, the Chancellor gave forces with historically low precepts, such as West Midlands, the chance to raise their precept by £5 per annum (less than 10p a week), compared to 2% for other areas. In official Government documents, the Home Office and Treasury assumed that all Police Crime and Commissioners would increase the precept by the maximum amount each year over the next four years and that the increase would maintain police funding at its current level and fill the gap in funding from the Government. Therefore, it is essentially a Government requirement that police precepts are increased by the maximum amount to maintain local police funding.
I will be following the government’s lead and raising the precept by 10p a week (£5 annually) for a Band D council tax payer. The West Midlands Police precept will still be the second lowest in the country at just £111.55 per annum (for a Band D council tax payer) compared to the highest of £220.19 in Surrey. People in the West Midlands will be paying at least £65 less than neighbouring forces such as Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Mercia, which will be charging between £177.61 and £191.98.
I consulted the public on the budget and a large majority supported the small increase in the precept. In addition the cross-party Independent Police and Crime Panel recognised the governments cuts and their change of emphasis. The panel also noted that West Midlands Police continues to offer excellent value for money.
What this budget means:
- West Midlands Police can complete the recruitment of 450 new police officers
- PCSOs will be protected from redundancy
- People will continue to get support they need through the PCC’s Victims’ Commission
- The PCC is now investing money to halve waiting times for counselling services for victims of rape and domestic abuse
- The PCC is investing in mobile technology so officers spend more time on the streets not behind desks
- West Midlands Police has been rated as one of only five outstandingly efficient forces in the country – money will keep going to the frontline where it matters most