PCC Precept Proposal Supported by Panel
In order to deliver his Police and Crime Plan, PCC Ian Johnston is required to determine the budget for 2015/16 and then set the Police Precept element of the Council Tax following consultation with the Gwent Police and Crime Panel. Last month the Commissioner raised concerns at how continuous budget cuts to frontline policing were stretching already diminishing resources in Gwent to potentially dangerous levels.
The PCC made his comments after it was announced that Central Government grants for policing will be reduced by 5.1% in 'cash terms' in 2015/16 from that received in 2014/15. This cash reduction is a combination of cuts to the Home Office overall departmental budget as well as significant top-slicing of Commissioners budgets to fund other Home Office priorities.
To partially offset the impact of this funding reduction, the Police and Crime Panel accepted the Commissioner's recommendation today to set the Council Tax Precept at 3.99% for 2015/16. This means that the average Gwent household* will pay £211.62 for their policing and related services during 2015/16 - an increase of £8.12 a year or 67p a month on what they currently pay. To inform his decision, the Commissioner launched his 'Have Your Say' survey asking residents how much they would be willing to pay for their policing service and for their feedback on his police and crime priorities for Gwent.
Welcoming the Police and Crime Panel's support, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: "Whilst acutely conscious of the current difficult economic climate facing the public, I needed to set the police precept at an amount which will maintain, as far as possible, the policing service provided to Gwent residents. When making my decision, I was mindful of the continuing requirement to make significant additional savings to the police budget, as a result of the on-going funding cuts that are being inflicted upon Gwent Police by the Government.
A freeze in the precept was not a sustainable option and would have undermined my ability to meet the priorities outlined in my police and crime plan. The 'Have Your Say' public survey I held last year also helped inform my decision regarding my priorities and the overall support for the approach. I also listened carefully to the views of the Police and Crime Panel members who were happy to support my decision. The panel endorsed this as a positive way forward which would assist the people of Gwent and I would like to thank them for their support." In determining the budget requirement for 2015/16, Mr Johnston has had to take into account his Police and Crime Plan and the Chief Constable's view of the financial resources required to deliver the operational requirements of the plan. The full Precept report is available to view on the Gwent Police and Crime Panel website www.gwentpcp.org.uk For further information about the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner visit www.gwent.pcc.police.uk