Have your say on police funding in Gwent

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, is asking residents whether they would support a potential rise in their council tax to support policing.

Gwent Police has had 40 per cent real term cuts in government funding since 2010 and has had to make almost £50million in savings since 2008.

An increase of about £2 a month (based on a band D property) would allow Gwent Police to maintain current police officer levels of 1,325, and also maintain investment to tackle priority areas including neighbourhood policing, child protection, domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, hate crime, and serious and organised crime.

It would also support recent investment in policing by the UK Government called Operation Uplift, which will see approximately 160 new officers joining Gwent Police over the next three years. These officers are additional to Gwent Police’s planned recruitment for the year.

It is the Police and Crime Commissioner’s responsibility to set the annual council tax precept and, without the proposed increase, Gwent Police will have to deliver further cash savings over and above the current need to deliver nearly £5m of cash savings by 2023/24, in order to balance the budget.

Mr Cuthbert said: “Despite recent investment from the UK Government, the future financial position for policing continues to look bleak. We face significant challenges in Gwent and demand remains high.

“I believe an increase in council tax is the only way Gwent Police are going to be able to continue to provide a high level of service to residents.

“While Gwent is due to receive an estimated 160 additional new police officers as part of Operation Uplift, it’s still unclear from where long-term funding for these officers is coming.

“I am reassured that a rise of up to £2 a month for the average household would see Gwent Police able to maintain current policing provision. I want to hear what the public has to say on this matter and would urge people to fill out the survey and have their say.

“We already have seen significant investment in the last three years in policing in Gwent, with more than 400 new officers and 160 new posts. This has brought us closer to the number of officers that we had pre-austerity and has allowed Gwent Police to prioritise work to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities. This is something of which I am incredibly proud.”

To have your say before the survey closes on Sunday 12 January 2020, visit www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=157106284977 

Other formats of the survey are available on request from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office by emailing commissioner@gwent.pnn.police.uk or calling 01633 642200