Council tax increase would fund 40 extra police officers

By Monmouthshire Beacon/Chepstow Beacon in Politics

MONMOUTHSHIRE residents are likely to see an increase in council tax to bolster police officer numbers following policing cuts by the UK Government.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Jeff Cuthbert has proposed an increase of 3.99 percent to the police element of the council tax.

This increase would enable the Chief Constable of Gwent Police to invest in an additional 40 police officers, 12 front-line members of police staff, and in tackling emerging crimes such as cyber fraud.

A 3.99 per cent increase from April this year would mean that the average Gwent household would pay £228.84 for their policing, an increase of £8.78 a year or 17p a week on what they currently pay.

The funding of Gwent Police and the provision of policing services in Gwent forms part of PCC Jeff Cuthbert’s statutory duties.

To ensure that all the people who live in Gwent have an efficient and effective police service which provides value for money, Mr Cuthbert is required to determine the budget for 2017/18 and then set the police precept (the proportion of the cost of policing paid from your council tax).

Earlier this week, the Gwent Police and Crime Panel supported this proposal, but request that the increase should be lowered to 3.55 percent.

The panel will now submit a report to the commissioner in support of their suggestion of an increase of 3.55 percent by no later than 8th February.

Mr Cuthbert has agreed to consider their recommendation and will respond to the panel’s view shortly after this date. 

A Precept increase of 3.55 per cent would mean that the average Gwent household would pay £227.87 for their policing and related services - an increase of £7.81 a year or 15p a week on what they currently pay.

The increase of 3.99 per cent was based on the findings of a month long consultation launched by Mr Cuthbert which asked residents how much they would be willing to pay for their policing service.

The majority of respondents said that they would be in favour of increasing the precept by this level or more.

The impact of the UK Government’s cuts on policing and the need to bolster officer numbers in Gwent following a significant reduction over the last six years were also behind Mr Cuthbert’s proposed increase.

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