Gwent PCC Jeff Cuthbert is required to ensure that all the people who live in Gwent have an efficient and effective police service and he has a legal requirement to set the police budget. With this in mind, Mr Cuthbert launches his Have Your Say consultation survey today.
Since the start of the UK Government's current austerity programme in 2010/11, Gwent Police has delivered 42.1m of efficiency savings to date. However, the Force will still potentially face a recurring deficit of nearly 12 million by 2021/22 as a result of the Home Office's review of the way police forces in England and Wales are funded. This is in addition to the underlying cuts forecast from the effect of the Government's austerity programme. Since 2012, officer numbers in Gwent have been reduced by 220 and staff numbers by 151 (up to 2015).
The consultation has been launched today to help inform the Commissioner's considerations when setting next year's budget (2017/18) and the level of his Precept (the proportion of the cost of policing paid from your council tax). The consultation provides a range of options and asks residents what level of precept they believe to be fair. It also explains the financial outcomes of those choices.
The average band D household in Gwent currently pays 4.58 per week towards policing. An increase of 2% in the precept (an extra 8p per week per band D household) would enable the Commissioner to reinvest 5m into delivering his priorities. An increase of 3.99% in the precept (an extra 17p per week) would enable Mr Cuthbert to reinvest 6m into delivering his priorities. And an increase in the precept of 5% (an extra 21p per week) would enable the Commissioner to reinvest 6.5m into delivering his priorities. The latter would also reduce the funding gap to around 11m by 2021/22, which would be met by future savings programmes.
Urging as many people in Gwent to have their say by completing the survey, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said: 'We want to provide a quality and sustainable police service within our tight resources and having consulted extensively over the last year, I am confident that the majority of Gwent residents I have spoken to have accepted the need for an increase in the precept. I understand that nobody wants to pay more, whether it's council tax or the police precept, I understand that absolutely. However, we are between a rock and a hard place and if the UK Government continues its programme of austerity and continues to reduce the central grant to us then we have little choice other than to turn to the local population for that input to ensure Gwent Police has the necessary funds to keep people safe. However, any increase in money raised locally will not be done without explanation or consultation and this why I have launched the Have Your Say survey today.'
The survey will run from today (Monday December 19th) and the closing date for all responses is 4pm on Friday 20th January 2016. The results of this survey will inform the police precept setting for 2017 / 2018.
Other formats of the survey will also be available on request from the Police and Crime Commissioner's office from January 3rd 2017 by emailing Commissioner@gwent.pnn.police.uk . Please email electronic copies to this address and send all hard copy responses by post to:
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner