Investing in Our Police and Crime Services
To help maintain frontline policing and invest in tackling emerging crimes such as cyber fraud, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, has set the rise in the part of the Council Tax that goes to Gwent Police at 3.99%.
This means that, from April this year, the average Gwent household* will now pay an extra 17p a week for its policing service. This will enable the Chief Constable of Gwent Police to maintain current services and invest in an additional 40 police officers to tackle emerging crimes. These additional officers are part of the Force's recruitment plans to bolster the front-line, which will see 120 new police officers joining Gwent Police during 2017/18 (some of which will replace officers who are expected to retire or leave the service).
The funding of Gwent Police and the provision of policing services in Gwent forms part of PCC Jeff Cuthbert's statutory duties. To ensure that all the people who live in Gwent have an efficient and effective police service which provides value for money, Mr Cuthbert is required to determine the budget for 2017/18 and then set the Police Precept (the proportion of the cost of policing paid from your council tax).
Last month, the independent Gwent Police and Crime Panel supported the PCC's proposal to apply an increase of 3.99% but asked Mr Cuthbert to consider an increase of 3.55%. After careful consideration, Mr Cuthbert decided to set the increase at his original figure of 3.99%. This figure is based on a robust financial case and the findings of a consultation launched by Mr Cuthbert which asked residents how much they would be willing to pay for their policing service. The majority of respondents said that they would be in favour of increasing the precept by 3.99% or more to protect and invest in their policing service. The impact of the UK Government's cuts on policing and the need to bolster officer numbers in Gwent following a significant reduction over the last six years were also behind Mr Cuthbert's decision.
Welcoming the Police and Crime Panel's support, Jeff Cuthbert, said: "These are very challenging financial times as policing budgets continue to be squeezed and this budget is built on the success of a major efficiency programme delivered by the Force. I am also very conscious of the tough financial pressures that many households in Gwent are facing. However, the UK Government's continued cuts to policing left me with no option except to make the very difficult decision of increasing the precept. There was an endorsement from the public for this direction as a result of my recent consultation and individual feedback from my many public events and meetings. I would like to thank all of the residents of Gwent who took the time to give me their views. Their responses ultimately informed my decision. I would also like to thank the Panel for their scrutiny and support."
The full Precept report is available to view on the Gwent Police and Crime Panel website www.gwentpcp.org.uk