Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Emma Wools has today set out the need to increase the precept which will allow South Wales Police to maintain the service it provides to the communities of South Wales, whilst further developing its core focus on Neighbourhood Policing and Community Safety arrangements.
The rise of 7.4% amounts to an extra £1.86 per month for someone living in a band D property – but most people across South Wales will pay far less than that. Council taxpayers in South Wales will still pay less for policing than households in Gwent, less than those in Dyfed Powys and only slightly more than people living in North Wales.
The precept was agreed at a meeting of the South Wales Police and Crime Panel earlier today (Tuesday, 7 February ). The panel was given a detailed overview of the challenges faced by the force and the significant steps which have been taken to save money, invest in technology and ensure that operational policing is working more efficiently and effectively.
South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael, said: “In the 10 years I have had the responsibility of proposing the level of local support for Policing in South Wales, setting this precept has been the most difficult.
“I am very conscious that the cost-of-living crisis is hitting every individual and every service, and that it will no doubt have a greater impact on the most vulnerable in society. This is why I wanted to avoid increasing the level of the precept any further than is absolutely necessary.
“The Home Office has failed to maintain the Police Grant at a level that would enable us to set a modest precept – we are being forced to put a price on the safety of our communities, and ultimately the police budget has to be at a level that enables our officers and staff to keep people safe. It is disappointing that they continue to shift the burden of police finance from the Home Office and the Exchequer onto local taxpayer.”
Local policing is funded by the Police Grant as contributions from the public via the Council Tax, known as the Police Precept. Home Office grant, as well as contributions from the public via the Council Tax, known as the police precept. The Precept accounts for nearly half the money received by South Wales Police for the 2023/2024 budget.
Alun continued: “The added frustration here in South Wales is that, despite repeated calls for a review over the ten years since I was elected Police and Crime Commissioner, the Home Office still doesn’t recognise the extra cost of policing Cardiff as our capital city, so South Wales Police is further short changed, whereas additional money is provided to forces policing London and Edinburgh.”
“What I am confident about is that South Wales Police gives the best possible value for money to our council taxpayers because of the cost-effective management of resources, high level of performance and the focus that I and the Chief Constable have placed on improving professional standards, working with partners, on early intervention and prevention of harm and on neighbourhood policing and community safety.
“This budget, together with effective forward planning and the innovative way in which we work with partners to keep South Wales safe, will allow us to meet our challenges against a backdrop of a decade of deep financial cuts.”
Since 2010 South Wales Police has had its Police Grant cut by £45million – the Police Grant from the UK Government has been cut 42% in real terms.
That led to the number of police officers being cut from 3,400 to 2,800 and even after the uplift announced by the Government, we will only see officer numbers return to roughly what they were a decade ago.