Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael aims to reduce the impact of Home Office cuts to policing by increasing the local police precept by four per cent. The money generated will broadly cover the cost of the additional National Insurance burden decided by Central Government and equates to an extra £7.99 per year (less than 16p a week) for band D households.
Mr Michael said: “The increase is essential to help protect the service which, despite the announcement of protection to the Home Office police budget, is still facing a cash cut of 0.6 per cent.
“The cuts imposed on South Wales are made worse by a police funding arrangement which takes £8.8m from South Wales and gives it to the other three Welsh police forces. The formula ignores Cardiff’s status as the capital city of Wales and the policing demands that brings.
“South Wales Police has already had to meet grant cuts of £43m and address demand and inflationary pressures. We are taking a balanced approach to soften the impact on policing our communities, protecting vulnerable people and keeping the burden on the rate payer to a minimum.
“We have made tough decisions for a number of years now in relation to how we deliver our services and this forward planning approach, combined with the innovative way in which we work with partners to reduce crime, is why we are able to continue to meet these financial challenges.”
He added: “South Wales remains the best value for money in terms of the cost to council tax payers in Wales.”
Despite the financial challenges South Wales Police has been consistently improving its performance and service to our communities and is now recognised as one of the best performing forces in England and Wales.
Much of this success has been recognised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, particularly in relation to improving the levels of victim satisfaction which now one of the highest in the country.
Overall South Wales Police has experienced an increase of just one per cent in all recorded crimes, which compares very well against similar forces who have an average increase of around 10 per cent, as well as the national average of six per cent.
Most importantly reporting has increased through encouraging people to have the confidence to talk to the police. This is particularly important when people are the victims of sexual assaults or violence.
Anti-social behaviour has reduced by more than 70,000 incidents since 2008-9 and detections recently reached at an all-time high – particularly burglary and violence against the person
The force has invested in new technology which is improving the way we work, as well as leading to efficiency gains. South Wales Police is the lead force for Niche and for developments in the IDIOM system for managing the data that is necessary to manage offenders. The Commissioner has played a leading role in the development of the Police ICT Company which is working to reduce costs and increase the effectiveness of Police IT.
Mr Michael has also reiterated his commitment to protect and maintain neighbourhood policing. He said: “Police officer numbers are currently 2,800 compared to 3,400 a few years ago. The money raised through this modest increase in the precept will enable South Wales Police to sustain these numbers for the coming year.
“Also additional money from Welsh Government Ministers has enabled us to keep 206 more PCSOs on the streets of South Wales and to maintain our commitment to local neighbourhood policing,” he added.
Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael added:
“I am very pleased that after detailed scrutiny of the police and crime plan, and our financial projections, the panel unanimously agreed to approve the precept proposals. This goes some way to helping, despite the cuts in central government funding.”