Barry Precept Paid to South Wales Police Faces Likely Rise

  Posted: 27.01.20 at 15:04 by Anthony Lewis - Local Democracy Reporter

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The money you pay to the police in Penarth is likely to rise by between 5% and nearly 8% next year.

The potential South Wales Police precept rises have been laid out in a report from the police and crime commissioner Alun Michael set to be considered by the police and crime panel in Merthyr Tydfil on Thursday, January 30.

The exact rise won’t be known until the force has received confirmation of police grant funding for 2020/21 from the Home Office which is likely to come before the meeting so a firm proposal should be made by the commissioner at the meeting itself.

The General Election in December delayed the announcement of the grant for 2020/2021 so final approval can’t be given until that is known.

The commissioner’s report says the likely range of precept increases has been calculated by looking at the likely impact on resources and the cost pressures that South Wales Police faces.

Last year, a 10% precept increase to £257.52 was implemented despite not enough members of the panel voting in favour of it.

The report shows that next year’s increase will depend on whether there is an allowance made in the police grant for inflation.

if there is then the rise is likely to be 5% but if not then it is likely to be just under 8% (7.85%).

The force is planning to make £1.25 million of savings for 2020/21 which will come from increased collaboration, procurement, transport, income generation and fleet management.

These will mean that the force has cut its budget by £60 million since 2010 due to funding from UK Government decreasing by a third in that time.

The largest area of spending for South Wales Police is on staffing which accounts for about 80% of the budget and successive years of budget cuts have meant a reduction of 432 police officers.

But the first 6,000 of the 20,000 extra police officers announced by the UK Government will see an increase of 136 officers for South Wales Police but there is no information yet on where the other 14,000 will go.

The force also has to factor in spending on pay awards, pensions, non-staff inflation and borrowing costs.

Based on a flat cash settlement and precept increase of 5%, this is the force’s projected spending for next year which would leave a £4.9 million budget gap before any extra efficiency savings are included.

£280.5 million on employees
£3.5 million on direct staff
£11.3 million on premises
£5 million on transport
£23 million on supplies and services
£17.5 million on agency and contracted services
£12.9 million on capital financing costs.
But, once less income and specific grants are taken into account, this means a total spend of £303.5 million for next year.

Then, when external grants and a 5% precept increase are factored in, it takes it down to £298.6 million, leaving that remaining budget gap of nearly £5 million.

The budget on proposed capital schemes for 2020/21 is over £48 million and the estates scheme budget is over £39 million which includes a tactical firearms range and a new learning and development centre at its headquarters in Bridgend.

The capital budget also includes £1.95 million for information and communication technology (ICT) and just over £2 million for the vehicle replacement programme.

The police consult on its budget proposals every year and this year South Wales Police received over 1,000 responses to its consultation with 766 (73%) saying they are willing to pay more for their policing which the report says shows the public realise the risk around decreasing funding for policing.

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