Call for UK Government to Increase Police Funding
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, has called on the UK Government to increase funding for the police service and reduce pressure on local communities as he launches a public consultation today asking residents how much they are willing to pay for their local policing.
Gwent PCC Jeff Cuthbert is responsible for setting the precept (the amount you pay through your council tax for policing) and for preparing and setting the annual budget to ensure that all the people who live in Gwent have an efficient and effective police service. With this in mind, Mr Cuthbert launches his Have Your Say consultation survey today.
Gwent Police has seen its budget reduced by 40% in real terms since the start of the UK Government’s austerity programme in 2010/11. Mr Cuthbert says this has left him with little choice other than to turn to the local population to ensure Gwent Police has the necessary funds to keep people safe.
The Precept consultation launched by Mr Cuthbert today will help inform his considerations when setting next year’s budget (2018/19) and the level of his Precept. The consultation provides a range of options and asks residents what level of precept they believe to be fair. It also explains the financial outcomes of those choices.
An increase of 3.99% in the precept (an extra 18p per week per band D household) would enable the Commissioner to maintain the 320 new police officers recruited since April 2016 and continue to invest in areas of emerging need such as cybercrime, safeguarding the most vulnerable in society and funding mental health practitioners in the Force Control Room. This would also help Gwent Police achieve a balanced budget. An increase of 5.99% a year (equalling 26p a week extra for an average band D property) would increase police and crime funding over the medium term and add a further £1 million to the budget, which equates to 20 police officers.
Urging as many people in Gwent to have their say by completing the survey, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said: “Pressures on police time and resources are increasing. Whether it is from the increase in recorded crime, more complex crimes being committed or a greater need to safeguard the vulnerable in society, the police, more than ever, are being called on to respond. Our officers and staff are being stretched like never before. The current funding settlement for policing from the UK Government is insufficient to respond to current demand, let alone further increases. There is an expectation from the UK Government that PCCs will increase the Precept locally to make up for the shortfall.
My priority remains to ensure that funding is invested directly into frontline policing in Gwent and I am committed to ensuring the Chief Constable has appropriate funds to recruit new officers to tackle emerging crime types such as cybercrime and to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
I understand that nobody wants to pay more but we have little choice other than to turn to the local population for that input to ensure Gwent Police has the necessary funds to keep people safe. This is why I want to hear people’s thoughts and this is why I have launched the Have Your Say consultation today. If the police precept is not increased and if this lack of investment continues, it will undoubtedly have a significant impact on policing across Gwent with inevitable reductions in service.”
The survey will run from today (Wednesday November 29th) and the closing date for all responses is 4pm on Sunday 7th January 2018. The results of this survey will be used to help inform the police precept setting for 2018 / 2019.
Follow the link to complete the online version of the survey www.bit.ly/GwentPrecept18-19
Other formats of the survey will also be available on request from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office by emailing Commissioner@gwent.pnn.police.uk Please email electronic copies to this address and send all hard copy responses by post to:
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner