Commissioner Sets Gwent Police Precept
This is a real terms reduction in what the public will pay when inflation is taken into consideration. The average Gwent household* will pay £198.23 for their policing service during 2013-14 which is an annual increase of £5.14, or just over an additional 1p per day.
In setting this budget the Commissioner is protecting frontline policing and agreeing all the enhancements to the service requested by the Chief Constable, despite a cut of 1.6% in core grant funding from the Home Office and Welsh Government.
The Panel voted unanimously in favour of the proposal. The Commissioner commented: "Setting the budget is one of the most important functions of my role. Since I took up the post of Police and Crime Commissioner much of my time has been spent reviewing the financial challenges facing the Force and working through the complex financial arrangements which go into producing a balanced and responsible budget. This has involved working closely with the Chief Officer team and also liaising closely with the Local Authorities.
"During my election campaign I pledged that I would do all I can to ensure that the public doesn't need to pay any more than they have to for their Policing service. "In considering the precept I have sought to balance the financial challenges being faced by residents of Gwent with the need for Gwent Police to provide the public with an effective, efficient, and sustainable service.
"Although under statute council tax has to be set annually, I have in the interest of longer-term sustainability given due consideration to financial projections over several years and I am satisfied that over the medium-term the further expected cuts in Home Office and Welsh Government grants are balanced by realistic efficiency savings targets and modest uniform increases in council tax. My proposed council tax precept of £40.997m will add to the Home Office Police Grant of £47.068m and Welsh Government Revenue Support Grant and re-distributed business rates of £15.853m and £16.398m, respectively, to produce total general funding of £120.316m.
"Amongst other things the budget will enable Gwent Police to recruit an additional 24 police officers who will be deployed as part of local neighbourhood policing teams.
"The settlement also allows me to challenge the Chief Constable and her team to build on their recent successes in cutting crime and anti-social behaviour. On behalf of Gwent residents I will be pressing for more in the way of crime reduction and overall performance".