West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has launched his budget consultation for 2017/18 – and wants to hear your views on how the money should be raised from April onwards.
The Commissioner is responsible for setting the budget for West Midlands Police. This includes setting the local ‘police precept’, which is the part of council tax that goes to the police.
The Commissioner is asking people for their thoughts on a £5-a-year – 10p a week – increase on the policing precept, allowing the force to protect local policing and recruit officers, whilst ensuring local people will still pay £60 less than for neighbouring forces such as Staffordshire, West Mercia and Warwickshire.
The West Midlands Police precept is the second lowest in the country at just £111.55 per annum (for a Band D council taxpayer) compared to the highest of £220.19 in Surrey. In comparison to forces similar to West Midlands, the next nearest precept level is Greater Manchester at £157.30.
If the police precept is frozen at its current levels, West Midlands Police will lose out on approximately £3.4m per annum, which will mean a total loss in funding of at least £10.2m by 2019/20. This loss of funding would have a significant impact on policing across the West Midlands with inevitable reductions in service.
As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review last year, the Chancellor gave forces with historically low precepts, such as West Midlands, the ability to raise their precept by £5 per annum, compared to 2% for other areas. In official Government documents, the Home Office and Treasury expects that all Police Crime and Commissioners will increase the precept by the maximum amount each year over the next four years. That increase would maintain police funding at its current level and help to fill the gap in funding from the Government, who are continuing to cut the amount of money they give to West Midlands Police.
The provisional grant settlement from the Home Office indicated that West Midlands Police would also be receiving £6 million less in government funding than last year.
Therefore it is essentially a Government requirement that police precepts are increased by the maximum amount to maintain local police funding. That is without taking into account increased fuel costs, inflation and other increased costs since last year.
The Commissioner is seeking your views on the level of precept for 2017/18. If the precept were to increase by £5 per year for a Band D property this equates to less than 10 pence per week.
You can give your views on the level of police precept for 2017/18 by completing the online survey at the bottom of the page.
The consultation will run until 27th January 2017 at 5pm.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said,
“The public have made it clear to me that despite government cuts they want local neighbourhood policing to be protected. To protect neighbourhood policing and get the force ready for the new threats the West Midlands faces I am recruiting 800 officers, 150 PCSOs and 200 specialist police staff.
“The government have made it clear that to cover their reduction in police funding they expect PCCs to increase council tax precept by the maximum amount. In the West Midlands that would mean council tax increasing by £5 a year or just under 10p a week for a Band D council taxpayer.
“A £5 increase on the policing precept in the West Midlands would still mean that local people are paying more than £60 less than neighbouring forces such as Staffordshire, West Mercia and Warwickshire.
“Before I make my final decision on the local policing precept I want to hear the views of the public. Please get in touch and fill in our online survey.”
Around the West Midlands region:
Current policing precept for a Band D property in the West Midlands £111.55, with a £5 increase on the precept it will be £116.55.
Neighbouring forces currently charge the below for their policing precept on a Band D property:
Staffordshire £177.61, West Mercia £189.90 and Warwickshire £191.98.
Precept consultation 2017/18