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Commissioner wants council tax decrease

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Christopher Salmon wants householders to pay less for their policing services this year.

Police Council Tax decrease: Public to pay 5 percent less for services if plans accepted

Police Council Tax decrease: Public to pay 5 percent less for services if plans accepted

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.”

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Lecture considers the future of war

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INTERNATIONALLY renowned war scholar and military conflict expert, Professor Christopher Coker delivered this year’s Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture on Thursday (Nov 16).

Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a prolific author on all aspects of war. He is a former NATO Fellow, a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.

In his lecture entitled ‘Still ‘The Human Thing’? Thucydides, Waltz & the Future of War”, Professor Coker discussed war as a feature of what we call ‘human nature’ or ‘humanity’ in general, while focusing on urgent contemporary issues such as possible changes in the nature of war by the blurring of the distinction between humans and machines.

He also considered how, as Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more a fact of life, the traditional functions and forms of war could change, discussing such questions as: will we still need war and will war still need us?

Talking ahead of the the event, Professor Ken Booth of Aberystwyth University said: “Chris Coker is a very imaginative, interesting, and controversial thinker. Intellectually ambitious, he always addresses the biggest questions. The titles of some of his most recent books attest to this: Future War, Can War be Eliminated?, Warrior Geeks: how 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think about War, The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict and Men at War: what Fiction tells us about Conflict. We can be sure of a fascinating and challenging lecture about a supremely important area of human behaviour.”

The Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture brings distinguished scholars to Aberystwyth to talk about issues that were central to the concerns of the late Ken Waltz, the leading theorist of international relations over many decades.
Hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute and the Department of International Politics, this year’s lecture was held in the Main Hall in the International Politics Building on the Penglais Campus.

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Youth Service invited to international training event

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TWO Youth Workers from Ceredigion Youth Service have been selected to represent the UK on a week’s training opportunity in Horažd’ovice in the Czech Republic.

‘The danger of a Single Story’ is a training course funded by Erasmus+, that combines stories, media, global education and active citizenship to empower trainers, educators and youth workers with the tools to educate young people on issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, and online harassment.

Elen James, Head of Youth Engagement and Continuing Education​,​ said​:​ “We are extremely proud of both Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton, 270 people had applied, for 24 places, 2 were allocated for the UK and both places have been assigned to Ceredigion Youth Service staff.

“This is an excellent training opportunity for them, which will inform them and encourage them to reflect on the evolution of media and the consequences that it has on the formation of stereotypes and prejudices. We wish them all the best in Prague!​”​

Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton will join 22 other Youth Workers from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The week will be hosted at the PROUD Environmental Centre approximately 120km from Prague, from ​Sunday (Nov 19) for a week.

Rebeca Davies, School Based Youth Worker said​:​ “I’m really looking forward to visiting Prague, and meeting other Youth Workers from across the World. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn new tools and techniques to encourage and empower young people back here in Ceredigion.”

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker ​added​:​ “I’m looking forward to learning more about different Youth Work methods and approaches. I’m also eager to develop a greater awareness around education, active citizenship and democracy.”

Cabinet member for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Councillor Catrin Miles, ​commented: “As a Council, we are very proud of the hard work of our Youth Service to the young people of the county. This will be a very important and worthwhile opportunity for Rebeca and Guto to represent Ceredigion and Wales and we wish them all the best at the event.”

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Pot Noodles bought with theft proceeds

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ON WEDNESDAY (Nov 15), Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court heard that a 23-year-old man stole an HDMI cable from a store and sold it for a tenner to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Joel Alexander Owens, of Portland Street in Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol to the value of £24.96 belonging to his hometown’s B&M Bargains on June 29. He also admitted stealing an HDMI cable to the value of £14 belonging to Tesco in Aberystwyth on September 24.

Prosecuting, Helen Tench said a staff member at B&M was notified by a member of the public about a male who left the store without paying for items.

CCTV footage was checked, which showed Owens select a number of alcoholic items and leaving the store without making any payments.

Police officers later viewed the footage and identified the defendant.

On October 14, a member of staff at Tesco was informed of the incident at B&M. The Tesco CCTV footage was viewed as a result and the defendant was seen removing an HDMI cable from its box on September 24 and leaving without paying.

Ms Tench said Owens was interviewed on October 19, where he admitted committing the offences in his personal statement.

The defendant also admitted he sold the HDMI cable for £10 in order to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Defending, Katy Hanson said Owens pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and admitted to stealing beer and cider from B&M.

Probation officer Julian Davies stated that the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order for two previous offences of theft and a breach of a conditional discharge.

Aberystwyth magistrates revoked Owens community order and imposed a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a four-week curfew.

Owens was told to pay prosecution costs of £85, compensation of £14 to Tesco and compensation of £24.96 to B&M Bargains.

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