Budget, Precept, anticipated income and proposed expenditure 2014-15
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob
Jones has set an increase of 1.99% in the policing precept in
2014-15, the part of the Council Tax that goes to policing.
The current Band D policing precept is £102.43, which will rise to
an estimated £104.47.
This is less than the 3% increase Bob proposed, consulted on,
and was initially approved by the independent Police and Crime
Planel - thanks to the imposition by the government of a cap
that would have required a referendum if the increase was 2% or
Speaking about the increase, Bob said,
"The government's decision to impose a 2% referendum cap on
increases in the policing part of Council Tax bills has added to
the already unfair financial constraints on West Midlands
"My original proposal had been to increase the precept by 3%,
but the government's referendum cap means that this was not
possible without a costly and wasteful referendum of all voters
among the 2.8 million people in our area. The increase will
be 1.99% instead, taking it up to £104.47 for an average
household. We continue to have the second lowest precept in
the country by a large margin. I'd have to increase the
precept by 40% to over £140 to take it up to the next
"Because of our low precept, the flat rate cuts to the police
grant from government have hit us much harder than elsewhere.
Over four years we've seen a quarter cut from the grant that makes
up 88% of our funding.
"In contrast, low crime Surrey, with a precept double ours at
over £200 a year, raises 48% of its funding from its high local
tax. Therefore they've seen a 25% cut to 52% of their
funding, while we've seen a 25% cut to 88% of our funding.
The cuts here are therefore almost twice as deep as low crime
Surrey. It's no coincidence they've got more police officers
now than in 2010, while we're only just about to restart
recruitment after a five year hiatus.
"I had sought to cushion this latest blow to policing in the
West Midlands with a moderate increase of 3% in the precept, but
was denied this option by the government's one-size-fits-all
approach. The increase in the police part in Council Tax
bills will not be 5p per week as planned, but will be 3p per
"The 1.99% increase, coupled to careful use of reserves, means
that the recruitment of 450 police officers and 100 staff to
release existing officers for duties that the community value most,
can still go ahead. However, reserves can only be used once
and the breathing space they afford us must be used to address the
long-term disparity between increasing expectations and the grossly
unfair financial position the West Midlands suffers."