West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has launched consultation on the police’s budget for 2019/20 and wants to hear your views.
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 once inflation and additional pensions costs are considered on top of cuts of £175 million since 2010.
The amount West Midlands Police can raise per household from council tax is the second lowest in the England at just £128.55 per year (for a Band D council taxpayer). That compares to Surrey, which have the highest rate of £236.57. The third lowest council tax is West Yorkshire Police at £162.95.
The police funding announcement from central government for 2019/20 cut the spending power of local forces and required Police and Crime Commissioners to seek money from the local council tax payers in their areas.
If the police precept is frozen, West Midlands Police will lose out on approximately £18 million each year. Raising council tax will prevent West Midlands Police from shrinking further.
In official Government documents, the Home Office and Treasury expects that all Police Crime and Commissioners will increase the precept by the maximum amount. Therefore it is essentially a Government expectation that police precepts are increased by the maximum amount.
The Commissioner is asking people for their thoughts on the government proposed £24 a year increase on the policing precept element. This would mean the force will not shrink further and It would still leave local people paying at least £40 less than people in neighbouring force areas such as Staffordshire, West Mercia and Warwickshire.
You can give your views on the level of police precept for 2019/20 by visiting: www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk
The consultation will run until 31st January 2019 at 5pm.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “The public have made it clear that despite government cuts they want to see more police officers on their streets. I will do all I can to make that happen.
“To ensure the force doesn’t shrink any further, the government has strongly indicated it expects PCCs to increase council tax by the maximum amount. That means a £24-a-year increase for a Band D taxpayer.
“A £24 increase in the West Midlands still means local people will pay at least £40 less than people living in areas covered by 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 officer numbers. I would prefer government not to shift the cost onto local council tax payers, but they have left no other option.
“Before I make my 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.”
West Midlands region
Current policing precept for a Band D property in the West Midlands £128.55, with a £24 increase on the precept it will be £152.55.
Neighbouring forces currently charge the below for their policing precept on a Band D property:
Staffordshire £192.55, West Mercia £197.18 and Warwickshire £203.98.