18th Sep, 2018

'Over 100 police jobs saved by council tax rise'

Felix Nobes 9th Feb, 2018 Updated: 9th Feb, 2018

OVER 100 officers will keep their jobs after a council tax hike was approved, police chiefs say.

The rise in the West Midlands Police’s portion of your council tax bill from April was approved by the Police and Crime Panel.

Coventry City Council receives most of the income from council tax. It is expected later this month to raise its part of residents’ bill by 5 per cent.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), David Jamieson, proposed an increase of £12 a year for a Band D council tax payer as part of his budget.

He claimed it was needed to ‘stabilise’ the police force and maintain officer numbers.

The PCC’s 2018/19 budget, including the precept, was approved unanimously by the Police and Crime Panel on Monday.

The West Midlands Police ‘precept’ is the part of your council tax bill that goes to the police.

Mr Jamieson has criticised government funding cuts to police forces that have left West Midlands police at its lowest officer numbers in its history.

The Labour PCC also linked a 14 per cent rise in West Midlands crime over the last year to damaging ‘real-term cuts’.

The increase in council tax will raise £9.5 million.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: “This budget still means difficult times for West Midlands Police. Officer numbers will be stabilised, rather than increased, and those officers are dealing with more crime.

“Across the country crime is rising at its fastest rate since 1992.

“The public have made it clear to me they want to see the number of officers protected.

“I am reluctant to put up council tax, even by a small amount, but I must do all I can to prevent the force from shrinking.

“The government has made it clear it expects me to raise the council tax precept by the maximum amount and with the pressures on policing being what they are I have agreed to do that.

“I am making sure the money goes on recruitment and protecting officer posts.”

The PCC’s office say, despite the small rise, the 2018/19 West Midlands Police precept will still be the second lowest in the country.

Government ministers have since 2010 claimed that funding cuts to police forces have helped to reduce the national deficit, which shot up dramatically after the financial crash in 2008 under Labour.

Conservative ministers also argued funding cuts to police forces could be absorbed by back-office savings without harming frontline crime-fighting.

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