West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has launched his budget consultation for 2016/17 – and wants to hear your views on how the money should be spent 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 maintain its services yet ensuring local people still pay £65 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 £106.55 per annum (for a Band D council taxpayer) compared to the highest of £215.89 in Surrey. In comparison to forces similar to West Midlands, the next nearest precept level is Greater Manchester at £152.30.
If the police precept is frozen at its current levels, West Midlands Police will lose out on approximately £3.3m per annum, which will mean a total loss in funding of at least £13m 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 2015, the Chancellor has given 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 have assumed 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 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.
The Commissioner is seeking your views on the level of precept for 2016/17. 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 2016/17 by completing the online survey at the bottom of the page.
The consultation will run until 29 January 2016 at 5pm.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said,
“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 over £65 less than other local 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 £106.55, with a £5 increase on the precept it will be £111.55.
Other regional forces currently charge the below for their policing precept on a Band D property:
Staffordshire £177.61, West Mercia £185.90 and Warwickshire £188.23.