NORTH WALES police and crime commissioner is asking council taxpayers to stump up an extra 5.14% on the police precept from April.
Last year’s increase was 4.89% and the request for extra funds this year is partly due to a £750,000 investment in an upgraded communication system being rolled out across the UK, the Emergency Service Network (ESN).
The annual cost of administering the ESN from 2023-24 will be a little over £1.3m and the system will provide a one-stop IT solution for officers on the beat, which will replace the Airwave system.
It is designed to cut down on form filling and can be loaded onto laptops and mobile phones – even allowing officers to check fingerprints.
The panel had resolved in December to contact the Home Office “regarding the costings and technology relating to the ESN programme”.
Last year Capita secured a five-year contract worth £788,000 to deliver IT systems to North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, so it could move to the ESN system.
Committee member Cllr Dana Davies said it was important to point out the increase was the same as last year but with inflation and contribution to the ESN on top.
The total precept increase is £14.94 per year and means the policing portion of council tax rises to £305.55 per household from April, contributing £89.7m (51.73%) to the PCC’s overall budget of £173.4m.
“Operation Uplift”, a central government plan to increase numbers of officer across England and Wales, will see a further 62 officer taken on in 2021-22 and another 140 over the life of the scheme.
It also emerged that because of reduced funding and other pressures the force’s budget had been slashed by more than £35m over the past decade.
There would be no pay rise for officers in the coming year but the medium-term plan for the following years assumed a 2.5% rise.
The plan also set assumed police precept rises of £12 per year on council tax bills for the following four years after 2021-22 – between 3.93-3.51%.