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 overwhelming majority of West Midlands Police’s budget comes from central government. That element of the budget will face a real terms cut once inflation is factored in this year, on top of cuts of £145 million since 2010. Just to standstill West Midlands Police requires £22 million.
The West Midlands Police precept is the second lowest in the country at just £116.55 per annum (for a Band D council taxpayer) compared to the highest of £224.57 in Surrey. The third lowest council tax precept is West Yorkshire Police at £150.95.
The Police funding announcement from central government for 2018/19 cut the spending power of local forces police forces, and required for Police and Crime Commissioners to seek money from the local council tax payers in their areas.
If the police precept is frozen at its current levels, West Midlands Police will lose out on approximately £9.5 million per annum. This loss of funding would have a significant impact on policing across the West Midlands with inevitable reductions in service. £9.5 million of funding will support the recruitment of 190 police officer posts, essential for stabilising force numbers.
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 two years. 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 asking people for their thoughts on a £12-a-year - £1 a month – government supported increase on the policing precept, allowing the force to protect local policing and recruit officers, whilst ensuring local people will still pay £50 less than for neighbouring forces such as Staffordshire, West Mercia and Warwickshire.
You can give your views on the level of police precept for 2018/19 by completing the online survey at the bottom of the page.
The consultation will run until 2nd February 2018 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. I will do all I can to focus resources into that area.
"The government have made it clear that to part cover their reduction in police funding they expect PCCs to increase council tax precept by the maximum amount. That would mean council tax increasing by £12 a year or a £1 a month for a Band D council taxpayer.
"A £12 increase on the policing precept in the West Midlands would still mean that local people are paying more than £50 less than neighbouring forces such as Staffordshire, West Mercia and Warwickshire.
“With the force still facing real terms cuts it is the only option left to protect services. Just to standstill West Midlands Police needs £22 million. I would much prefer government gave us the funding we require, however this increase will enable me to continue with planned recruitment to stabilise officer numbers.
“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 £116.55, with a £12 increase on the precept it will be £128.55.
Neighbouring forces currently charge the below for their policing precept on a Band D property:
Staffordshire £181.16, West Mercia £189.60 and Warwickshire £191.98.
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