A message from PCC David Jamieson:
Since 2010, West Midlands Police has lost over £145m and more than 2,000 police officers. I have been very clear that the government needs to begin to take the safety of our communities seriously by increasing the funding to the police.
This budget will allow West Midlands Police to continue with its recruitment of 800 police officers, 200 specialist support staff and 150 PCSOs.
Over the last few years, the force has faced £130 million in cuts – the highest proportion in the whole country – and government funding has been slashed by £6 million this year too.
As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2015, the Chancellor gave police 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 two per cent for other areas.
In official Government documents, the Home Office and Treasury assumed all Police and Crime 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 £116.55 per annum (for a Band D council tax payer) compared to the highest of more than £200 in Surrey.
People in the West Midlands will still be paying at least £65 less than neighbouring forces such as Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Mercia, which are currently charging between £177.61 and £191.98. I consulted the public on the budget and the majority supported the small increase in the precept.
In addition, the cross-party Independent Police and Crime Panel recognised the government’s cuts and noted that West Midlands Police continues to offer excellent value for money.
What this budget means:
- West Midlands Police can complete the recruitment of 800 police officers, 200 specialist support staff and 150 PCSOs.
- The Commissioner can continue to invest millions of pounds into supporting the victims of crime.
- 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 an outstandingly efficient force by the independent watchdog, HMIC.