North Wales PCC says decision to seek 5% policing precept increase ‘not taken lightly’
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for North Wales has confirmed he will be seeking approval to increase the regional policing precept.
If approved, the rise would equate to 31p per week (or £16.29 annually) for the financial year 2023-24 or a 5.14 per cent council tax increase for a band D property when compared to last year.
Labour’s Andy Dunbobbin said this was lower than the current rate of inflation which stands at 10.5 per cent.
He will make the proposal to members of the area’s Police and Crime Panel at a meeting on January 30, 2023, which will be live streamed on Conwy County Borough Council’s website.
Around half the money for the police budget in North Wales comes from the UK Government and the rest is raised council tax. The exact amount depends on the precept levied by the PCC.
Mr Dunbobbin said he had taken the decision carefully after carrying out a public consultation during December and January, which received more than 1,000 responses.
He said: “I did not take this decision lightly, as it is clear to me from responses to the consultation that many of us are feeling pressure from the cost-of-living crisis.
“Over 1,000 people took part in the survey, which was the largest number for several years and shows the depth of feeling people have regarding funding for North Wales Police.
“All views were taken into account and are finely balanced against the need to provide sufficient funding – and the best value for money – in keeping the people of North Wales safe.
“It is also clear to me from the consultation that people want to see our police service be as efficient, effective and as visible as possible in the way it operates. Visibility is vitally important to our communities. We all want to feel safe and secure and I was elected on that mandate.
“People also want to see an emphasis on rural and wildlife crime, preventing domestic abuse, protecting children and young people, and safeguarding vulnerable members of our society.
“Lastly, they want to see us address the root causes of offending and supporting rehabilitation of offenders.”
He added: “I will take these views into consideration and discuss how we can act on them with the Chief Constable and with the rest of my team.
“I would like to thank everyone who took part in the survey and took the time to make their views known. Your opinions are valued.”
North Wales Police’s Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman said: “I recognise that these are challenging times, the cost of living crisis continues to bite and I am acutely aware of the impact any increase in outgoings can have.
“I would however like to reassure people that if the precept is accepted by the Police and Crime Panel we will invest the money to benefit people and communities across the whole of North Wales.
“One of our top priorities, in line with the survey results, is to improve our visibility out and about amongst local communities. An increase in PCSO numbers would help us to achieve this.
“Investment would also be made in areas to ensure the best outcome for victims and in other key sections such as forensics and scientific support, which are both such important services to many aspects of policing especially in helping to bring offenders to justice.
“All our intended areas of investment support the Police and Crime Plan and our work to make North Wales the safest place in the UK to live, work and visit.”
The final decision on the increase in the precept now lies with the Police and Crime Panel, which is made up of ten councillors from across North Wales.
It also includes three co-opted independent members and together they are responsible for scrutinising the work of the PCC.
If the panel agrees to the increase, it will become effective as of the next financial year starting in April 2023.
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