Budget proposals to pay for recruitment of more police officers and staff given the go ahead (7 Feb 2014)

More than 120 police officers and 70 police staff posts can now be recruited after budget proposals submitted by West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, have been given the go ahead.

The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel today (FRI)supported Mr Burns-Williamson's proposal to increase the police council tax by 1.99 per cent, which will cost taxpayers less than a penny extra a day.

The increase is for the police element of the council tax and will help pay for the recruitment of 126 police officers and 70 essential police staff roles this next year.

Mr Burns-Williamson told the panel that the overall package of measures within the precept proposal were designed to protect frontline policing and keep communities safer and feeling safer.

Following Friday's meeting, he said: "This proposal is essential to continue sustained recruitment of police officers and staff and to protect the level of PCSOs, so I really welcome the Panel's support today.(FRI)

"It has been well documented that the Force has had to find savings of £152 million by 2016/17, a 30per cent reduction on the original budget.

"I have made personal representations to the Home Secretary and Policing Minister about government cuts hitting West Yorkshire harder, with added cuts for us because of money being diverted to other national policing bodies from my budget.

"But I firmly believed my proposal to the Panel and the public generally provides a sound footing in helping to safeguard the future of West Yorkshire Police.

"We can invest in community safety work with partners to meet shared outcomes, and equip the force to meet the challenges of dealing with high levels of demand in the face of falling numbers. I am not prepared to take a risk when it comes to protecting our police service over the coming years by accepting short term freezes on offer from Government.

"It is a false economy that does not help the sustainability of West Yorkshire Police or meet the huge challenges ahead, clearly the panel also recognised that."

Chair of the Police and Crime Panel, Cllr Alison Lowe said "I am delighted that the Panel has been able to get an outcome that is good for the people of West Yorkshire to keep frontline policing as strong as possible and ensure the service is fit for the 21st Century.  The Panel has a clear plan to hold the Police and Crime Commissioner to account for the spending agreed today and we will be reporting to residents of West Yorkshire through our website to give assurances about value for money."

The second Listening to You First consultation, held by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, indicated that 65per cent of respondents would be willing to pay 2per cent or more for their police service. 

Editors Notes

The original proposal of 2 per cent had to be decreased to 1.99 per cent to avoid triggering a local referendum following the government announcement on Wednesday that increases at or above 2 per cent in the band D council tax would require such measures.

Any increase above that was never an option. 

Police council tax in West Yorkshire is currently the third lowest in England and Wales and the increase would mean an average 5 pence a week extra for two thirds of households across West Yorkshire. 

The proposal will mean those in band D properties paying £138.20 from £135.50, with the 64per cent of households in West Yorkshire in bands A and B seeing an increase from £90.34 to £92.13 and £105.39 to £107.49 respectively.

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2018