DYFED-POWYS POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Christopher Salmon wants householders to pay less for their policing services this year.
He is recommending a 5% decrease in the policing element of council tax payments across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys.
Mr Salmon said: “The police force has significant reserves of £43m of public money and the long-term trend is that crime is falling.
“I want to realign the level of precept with the real cost of running Dyfed-Powys Police; a fall in the precept will help that process.”
Mr Salmon’s proposal would result in a policing precept at council tax band D of £200.07 (down from £210.60) – a decrease of 20.3p per week. It would help deliver a 2015- 16 Dyfed-Powys policing budget of £95.6m (2014-15 – £97.9m).
He said: “My precept proposal balances the needs of families with the needs of our police service.
“Local policing is a priority and, due to investment in IT, our communities will see officers spend another 100,000 hours on the beat this year. That’s on top of the 30 new police officer posts we’ve created.
“An improved police air service will start soon, we have new mental health incident units, a new partnership to tackle antisocial behaviour and more domestic violence advisors. New rape crisis centres will open soon and I plan a CCTV strategy for the region.”
Mr Salmon’s precept proposal will go to the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel today (Jan 23). They have the power to reject the initial proposal. Once the Commissioner and Panel agree a figure it will be implemented.
Throughout December, Mr Salmon consulted the public and the feedback helped him propose the -5 percent figure. Around 30 percent of people said they paid too much for the police and a similar proportion asked for reserves to be used to minimise the precept rise.
In 2015-16, Government funding to Dyfed-Powys will fall in by 5.1 percent from £53.0 million to £50.3 million. A -5 percent precept decrease would produce £43.0 million for Dyfed-Powys Police. Reserves of £2.3 million would be added to create the policing budget of £95.6 million. The Chief Constable would therefore have no less money from the Commissioner in 2014-15 than he did in 2015-16.
Mr Salmon added: “My decision to cut the precept reflects what too many politicians in Wales fail to recognise; the money they handle belongs to the public. We have a duty to spend every penny of it as if it were our own.
“The public want strong frontline policing and, through the whole organisation working more wisely and professionally, that’s what I want to deliver.
“We’re on track to save £8.8 million from 2013-16 and the Dyfed- Powys civilian support services continue to become more resourceful, adaptable and flexible.
“Thanks to tough decisions and the incredibly hard work of the Chief Constable, his team, Unison and the Police Federation we have increased police officer numbers and saved £3.74 million.
“Ours is not a rich part of the world but I can now ensure that families struggling with bills will pay a little bit less. Dyfed-Powys householders will pay the same for policing in 2017 as they did in 2014.
“We will continue to invest in estates and IT to deliver 100,000 more officer hours to the front line in 2015 – and a modern, 21st century estate.”