West Midlands Police and Crime Panel approve budget plans
The Police and Crime Commissioner's plan to help slow the
decline in officer numbers and directly protect 100 posts has been
The West Midlands Police and Crime Panel has supported the PCC's
2018/19 budget for West Midlands Police.
Due to budget cuts the force was due to lose 128 officer posts
by 2020. Under these new plans West Midlands Police will stabilise
at 6,500 officers, down from 6,528. To standstill West Midlands
Police requires an additional £22 million a year. This increase in
council tax raises under half of that amount at £9.5 million, with
difficult financial decisions remaining. The approved plan
means the policing precept will increase by £12 a year for a Band D
council taxpayer in the West Midlands. It currently stands at
£116.55 and will rise to £128.55 in April.
Despite the small rise, people in the West Midlands will be
paying more than £50 less than neighbouring forces and still paying
less than residents in almost every other force area. In 2018/19
the West Midlands Police precept will be the second lowest in the
country at just £128.55 per annum (for a Band D council taxpayer)
compared to the current (2017/18) highest of £224.57 in Surrey.
Neighbouring forces currently charge the following for their
policing precept on a Band D property: Staffordshire £181.16, West
Mercia £189.60 and Warwickshire £191.98. Most of these charges are
set to increase in April too.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson,
"This budget still means difficult times for West Midlands
Police. Officer numbers will be stabilised, rather than increased,
and those officers are dealing with more crime. Across the country
crime is rising at its fastest rate since 1992.
"The public have made it clear to me they want to see the number
of officers protected. I am reluctant to put up council tax, even
by a small amount, but I must do all I can to prevent the force
"The government has made it clear it expects me to raise the
council tax precept by the maximum amount and with the pressures on
policing being what they are I have agreed to do that. To
standstill West Midlands Police requires £22 million. This increase
raises £9.5 million. I am making sure the money goes on recruitment
and protecting officer posts. I am disappointed the government is
refusing to properly fund the policing here in the West Midlands.
Instead, it is leaving it to the people of the West Midlands to
part fund our own force. It should not be shifting its
responsibilities on to local taxpayers at a time when everyone is
feeling the squeeze.
"West Midlands Police will still have a much lower council tax
precept than the surrounding areas, who all charge at least £50
more than we do for policing."
During the PCC's budget consultation 76.7% of the 849
respondents indicated that they would be willing to pay £12 a year
more to support officer numbers.
Commenting on delivering the PCC's budget plans, Chief Constable
Dave Thompson, said:
"Our West Midlands region has the highest population living in
deprivation, the largest under the age of 25 and the second most
diverse community of any police force in the country. Our
challenges are unique yet we will see one of the smallest rises in
spend across all forces, all of it funded by a local tax
"I am pleased to see the additional budget and will use it to
recruit 100 additional officers to support the transformational
work ongoing in West Midlands Police."