North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner proposes below inflation increase to policing costs
Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, Andy Dunbobbin, has announced that he will ask the Police and Crime Panel to approve a lower than inflation rate increase in the policing precept, the amount people pay through their council tax for policing.
This equates to 31p per week (or £16.29 annually) for the financial year 2023-24
Mr Dunbobbin will make the proposal to the Police and Crime Panel at a meeting on 30 January.
Around half the money for the police budget in North Wales comes from the UK Government and the rest comes from Council Tax. The amount depends on the precept levied by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The decision to ask for the increase follows a consultation and survey that took place over nearly six weeks from 5 December to 11 January, which received over 1,000 responses.
Andy Dunbobbin said: “Following consultation with the public, I have taken the decision to recommend an increase in the policing precept of 5.14% for the coming financial year. I did not take this decision lightly, as it is clear to me from responses to the consultation that many of us are feeling pressure from the cost-of-living crisis.
“Over 1,000 people took part in the survey, which was the largest number for several years and shows the depth of feeling people have regarding funding for North Wales Police.
“All views were taken into account and are finely balanced against the need to provide sufficient funding – and the best value for money – in keeping the people of North Wales safe.
“It is also clear to me from the consultation that people want to see our police service be as efficient, effective and as visible as possible in the way it operates. Visibility is vitally important to our communities.
“We all want to feel safe and secure and I was elected on that mandate. People also want to see an emphasis on rural and wildlife crime, preventing domestic abuse, protecting children and young people, and safeguarding vulnerable members of our society.
“Lastly, they want to see us address the root causes of offending and supporting rehabilitation of offenders. I will take these views into consideration and discuss how we can act on them with the Chief Constable and with the rest of my team.”
With North Wales Police having to find £39 million of savings since 2010 – plus an additional £3.75 million found for 2023-24 – the increase in the precept for the coming financial year will help to fund several roles and initiatives as part of the PCC’s key priorities.
The new roles include are in custody detention, the coroner’s office, scientific support, and in ensuring the data the force uses is as robust as possible.
Forensic software will also be upgraded as part of the changes envisaged.
In terms of increasing visibility, an additional six Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) roles will also be created.
Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman, said: “I recognise that these are challenging times, the cost of living crisis continues to bite and I am acutely aware of the impact any increase in outgoings can have. I would however like to reassure people that if the precept is accepted by the Police and Crime Panel we will invest the money to benefit people and communities across the whole of North Wales.
“One of our top priorities, in line with the survey results, is to improve our visibility out and about amongst local communities. An increase in PCSO numbers would help us to achieve this.
“Investment would also be made in areas to ensure the best outcome for victims and in other key sections such as forensics and scientific support, which are both such important services to many aspects of policing especially in helping to bring offenders to justice.”
“All our intended areas of investment support the Police and Crime Plan and our work to make North Wales the safest place in the UK to live, work and visit.”
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