THE South Wales Police and Crime Panel has today agreed to set a police precept which will enable South Wales Police to tackle serious violence, organised crime and protect the vulnerable.
The rise amounts to an extra £1.25 per month for someone living in a band D property – but most people across South Wales will pay far less than that.
Council Tax payers in South Wales will still pay significantly less for policing than households in North Wales and only slightly more than people living in Dyfed Powys and Gwent.
South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael said: “I am confident that South Wales Police gives the best possible value for money to our council tax payers because of the cost effective management of resources, high level of performance and the focus that I and the Chief Constable have placed on working with partners, on early intervention and prevention of harm and on neighbourhood policing.
“While we welcome the funding for additional police officers and that the Government is paying the full cost of the uplift, we have not been given sufficient money in the Police Grant alone to employ the ones we already have.
“Once again, there is no increase in the grant funding to cover issues such as rising costs, police estate, fleet, kit and equipment. Capital funding has all but ended and we still have £6.7million black hole to pay for training of police officers across the four forces in Wales.
“The added frustration here in South Wales is that, despite repeated calls for a review, the Home Office still doesn’t recognise the extra cost of policing Cardiff as our capital city, so South Wales Police is further short changed whereas additional money is provided to forces policing London and Edinburgh. We share the ambitions of Cardiff and indeed Swansea to host major events and all we seek is fairness in the way money for policing is provided by the Home Office.”
Since 2011/12 South Wales Police has had its Police Grant cut by around a third which is the highest cash reduction in Wales compared to the other centrally funded public services. During this time, the number of police officers was cut from 3,400 to 2,800 and even after the uplift announced by the Government we will only see officer numbers return to roughly what they were a decade ago.
Mr Michael added: “The past 12 months has been unprecedented for policing with the new challenges which the Coronavirus pandemic has brought while all the existing priorities of keeping communities safe, protecting people from harm and investigating crime have not gone away.
“This budget, together with effective forward planning and the innovative way in which we work with partners to keep South Wales safe, will allow us to meet our challenges against a backdrop of a decade of deep financial cuts.”
The precept was approved at a meeting of the South Wales Police and Crime Panel earlier today. The panel was given a detailed overview of the challenges faced by the force and the steps which have been taken to save money and invest in technology and operational policing by working more efficiently and effectively.
Mr Michael said after the meeting: “Police grant decisions announced by the Home Office reflect a shift of the burden from Central Government to local tax payers and I share the panel’s criticism of this change.
“Nevertheless, I would like to thank the Police and Crime Panel for their support in increasing the police precept which will allow police officer numbers to be maintained at their current level including those allocated specifically to dealing with rising demand of online threats and protecting vulnerable people, as well as neighbourhood policing where much our work on preventing crime takes place.”