THE Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has launched his annual consultation on the budget for West Midlands Police.
The PCC, Simon Foster, is responsible for setting the budget for West Midlands Police, which receives the majority of its funding from central government grant, with the balance being met by way of the Council Tax police precept.
Mr Foster is asking for the views of the public on their main priorities and an increase to Council Tax by up to £15 per year, for a Band D property.
West Midlands Police is facing a £30 million deficit in 2023/2024, because the government’s Police Grant Settlement does not maintain the base line funding that West Midlands Police needs to operate on a day to day basis.
The West Midlands Police Council Tax police precept is the second lowest in the country at £187.55 for a Band D property and remains at least £60.00 less than neighbouring forces.
An increase of £15 for the year 2023/24 for a Band D property, would mean that West Midlands Police could continue to maintain and recruit officers.
Mr Foster has pledged that he is committed to rebuilding community policing, by putting 450 extra neighbourhood police officers onto the streets of the West Midlands. This rise in the police precept will support those plans.
He said: “The harsh reality is that the government has provided us with a stark choice.
“Increase the Council Tax police precept or face yet further cuts to policing, that would see us lose the equivalent of 260 frontline officers.
“By 2023, in the West Midlands, we will still have 1,000 fewer police officers than we had in 2010 – whilst at the same time, there are police forces in other parts of the country that now have more police officers, than they have ever previously had in their history.
“I would encourage everybody in the West Midlands, if you work, live or study in the region to respond to this consultation.”
Visit https://www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/finance/budget/budget-2023-24/ to complete the survey.