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PCC proposes lower than inflation rate policing precept

Date

23 January 2023
Andy Dunbobbin

23/1/23: Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, Andy Dunbobbin, has today announced that he will ask the Police and Crime Panel to approve a lower than inflation rate increase in the policing precept. This equates to 31p per week (or £16.29 annually) for the financial year 2023-24. In percentage terms, this means a 5.14% council tax increase for a band D property on last year. Mr Dunbobbin will make the proposal to the 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 comes from Council Tax. The amount depends on the precept levied by the Police and Crime Commissioner.

The decision to ask for an increase of 31p per week follows a consultation and survey that took place with the people of North Wales over nearly six weeks from 5 December to 11 January, involving over 1,000 responses. The survey was available online and in hard copy and, to enable as many people as possible to have their say, the consultation was advertised on radio, public transport and on social media. Surveys were also made available at libraries, leisure centres and distributed via community networks and organisations across the region.

Andy Dunbobbin, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales commented: “Following consultation with the public, I have taken the decision to recommend an increase in the policing precept of 5.14% for the coming financial year. 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. 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.”

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.”

With North Wales Police having to find £39 million of savings since 2010 – plus an additional £3.75 million found for 2023-24 – the increase in the precept for the coming financial year will help to fund several roles and initiatives as part of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s key priorities. These priorities are delivering safer neighbourhoods, supporting victims and communities, and a fair and effective criminal justice system – as laid out in the unanimously supported Police and Crime Plan. The new roles include ones in custody detention, the coroner’s office, scientific support, and in ensuring the data the force uses is as robust as possible. Forensic software will also be upgraded as part of the changes envisaged. In terms of increasing visibility, an additional six Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) roles will be created; this comes on the back of 10 roles that were funded by the PCC in the last year.

The final decision on the increase in the precept now lies with the North Wales Police and Crime Panel at a meeting on January 30, 2023 in Bodlondeb, Conwy. The Police and Crime Panel is a body made up of ten councillors from across North Wales and three co-opted independent members and scrutinises the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner. If the Panel agrees to the increase, it will become effective in the next financial year from April 2023.