Plans to increase council tax to help cover a shortfall in police funding have been put forward by the West Midlands police and crime commissioner.
David Jamieson, who is responsible for setting the police’s budget, says the force is facing a £22m real terms budget cut in 2018/19.
He also says that without an increase in council tax, the police will suffer a further real terms cut of around £9.5m.
Jamieson is suggesting an increase of the police precept – the part of council tax earmarked to fund the police – of £12 a year for owners of ‘Band D’ properties in 2018/19.
The plans follow Dudley Council launching a public consultation which could result in a further council tax increase of up to 5%.
Jamieson has launched his own consultation to give local people a chance to have a say on the increase of the police precept. The consultation runs until 5pm on 2nd February and can be completed online.
On launching his consultation, Jamieson said: “The public [has] made it clear to me that despite government cuts they want local neighbourhood policing to be protected. I will do all I can to focus resources [in] that area.
“The government have made it clear that to part cover their reduction in police funding, they expect PCCs to increase council tax precept by the maximum amount.
“A £12 increase… would still mean that local people are paying more than £50 less than neighbouring [areas] such as Staffordshire, West Mercia, and Warwickshire.
“With the force still facing real terms cuts, it is the only option left to protect services. Just to standstill West Midlands Police needs £22m.
“I would much prefer government gave us the funding we require, however, this increase will enable me to continue with planned recruitment to stabilise officer numbers.”