Police Commissioner confirms precept for 2024/25 following panel meeting

POLICE and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has confirmed the police precept for 2024/25 following a meeting of the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is responsible for setting the budget for the police, which includes setting the precept which is the element of council tax that goes to the police.

After a process of extensive scrutiny, Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel unanimously supported the Commissioner’s precept proposal for 2024/25, which will increase the average band D property by 6.2%, or £19.38 per annum which is approximately £1.62 per month.

In setting the precept, Mr Llywelyn considers an array of factors, including inflation and cost pressures, the level of reserves, service demands, future investment requirements for critical infrastructure, efficiency and productivity plans, in addition to feedback from residents and businesses of the Dyfed-Powys area.

In November 2023 and, as a consequence of severe financial challenges, Welsh Government announced that their manifesto pledge to fund 600 Police Community Support (PCSOs) across Wales, was no longer possible. All Forces were requested to immediately pause recruitment. This will mean significant reductions in future grant funding. Clearly, PCSOs are an integral and important part of neighbourhood policing and much valued resource by communities. The cuts raise a number of operational risks and financial concerns.

Furthermore, Welsh Government also notified policing in mid-December 2023, that the totality of funding for the All-Wales Schools programme (£0.3m) would be withdrawn from 1st April 2024.

The decision to cease funding for this program, as well as significant reductions to PCSO funding would leave an exceptional void that should be addressed locally to ensure the safety of our communities, ensuring positive engagement of our children and young people.

This decision to raise the precept level by 6.2% aims to address the pressing need to safeguard vital aspects of community policing initiatives and to counteract the impact of withdrawn government funding.

As part of the last HMIC PEEL inspection, a number of observations were made in relation to the Force’s call handling arrangements which also reflected community concerns. The precept increase will allow the Force to address some of the concerns, by investing in staff and technology within the Force Control Centre, so that Dyfed-Powys Police are able to respond effectively and efficiently to growing demands. This area of business, which for many is the first point of contact, is assessed as being the priority of the Force, and is critical to ensure the accessibility of services for the public.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said; “We understand the burden that any increase in precept places on taxpayers.

“However, this decision is driven by the critical need to sustain essential services, ensure accessibility and visibility, particularly in the face of reduced government support.

“Our commitment to community safety remains to be the priority, and we are confident that this increase is a necessary investment, safeguarding the safety and well-being of our neighbourhoods.

“It will allow for essential investments in our Force Control Centre, addressing the urgent need for increased staffing and upgraded technology systems, ensuring that the Force has the ability to respond promptly and effectively to the needs of our communities.”

To inform his considerations for 2024/25 and in order to fulfil his responsibilities as Commissioner, Mr Llywelyn consulted with the public to obtain their views on the level of Police Precept increase. Of the 627 respondents, 67.3% noted that they would support either an enhanced or increased level of funding. The 6.2% increase announced today by the Police and Crime Commissioner, will set a precept of £332.03 per Band D property for 2024/25.

This increase will raise a total precept of £79.364m and will provide a total funding of £143.902m, representing a £8.150m (6.0%) increase for 2024/25 from the revised position

Mr Llywelyn added; “The operational and financial landscape continues to be both unpredictable and challenging. This level of funding will enable the Force to focus on the delivery of my Police and Crime Plan for 2021-2025 and the objectives that I have outlined for the Chief Constable to improve performance and outcomes.

“I would like to thank the public for providing their views through the consultation, and to the Police and Crime Panel members for their continued support.”

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