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Police precept set to increase by 5%.

Byline: Martin Shipton Chief Reporter martin.shipton@walesonline.co.uk

SOUTH Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael has announced plans to put up the police precept by 5% for the third year running - blaming an unfair allocation of cash by the Home Office.

Mr Michael, himself a former Home Office Minister, said householders in the South Wales Police area were disadvantaged by a quirk of the police funding formula that saw PS8.8m diverted from South Wales to the three other forces in Wales, enabling Dyfed-Powys Police, for example, to cut its precept.

He also pointed to another anomaly that sees the City of London Police, responsible for the richest enclave in Europe, getting a more favourable deal than South Wales.

The precept rise, which is added to council tax bills, equates to an extra 11-15p per week for most households. It will raise an extra PS5m for the force.

South Wales Police faces funding cuts of around PS9m this year and PS27m over the next four years.

By 2019, South Wales Police will have experienced a massive PS70m in cuts since the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review.

Mr Michael said: "I am speaking to our partners in local government and to representatives of our local communities.

"Their wish to maintain an effective local police service which keeps people safe in their homes and in their streets has been made clear to me.

South Wales remains the best value for money in terms of the cost to council tax payers in Wales and it has been recognised by ministers that police forces funded by higher levels of grant and lower levels of precept are more vulnerable to the impact of such drastic cuts."

In relation to precept decisions taken by other forces in Wales, Mr Michael said: "In effect, we are subsidising their lower rate of tax increase due to the complex nature of the funding floor which I have challenged repeatedly with the Home Office."

He added: "South Wales Police has succeeded in improving performance and this has been recognised by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, particularly in relation to improving the levels of satisfaction with our service expressed by victims.

"The money raised through the modest increase in precept in South Wales will enable the Chief Constable to sustain Police Officer numbers for a further year at the alreadyreduced level of 2,800 (down from 3,244 prior to the start of the cuts).

"We are also keeping faith with Welsh Government ministers whose additional money has enabled us to keep 206 more PCSOs on the streets of South Wales that would have otherwise been possible, and I am enormously grateful for that support."

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 26, 2015
Words:446
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