Wednesday, 22 February 2012 15:05

POLICE authorities in Wales must use all measures at their disposal to keep precepts down to acceptable levels, North Wales Assembly Member, Mark Isherwood has stated this afternoon.??

Speaking in the Assembly debate on the Police Settlement 2012-2013, Mr Isherwood recognised the challenges facing police forces, with UK police funding in England and Wales set to fall by £1 billion by 2014 - cuts that would have happened if Labour had remained in power - and said police authorities need to consider options other than increasing precepts to deal with the cuts.


He stressed that the Central Support Figure for the four Police Authorities in Wales for 2012-13, comprising Revenue Support Grant, Non Domestic Rates, Police Grant and Floor Funding, totals £397,481,000, a 6.7% reduction,? but that the Home Office has still met its responsibility for providing the funding necessary to ensure that no UK Police Authority has to take cuts over 6.7%.

He said: "Police authorities in Wales must use all measures at their disposal to keep precepts down to acceptable levels.

"Despite a £38 million cut over four years, West Mercia Police Authority has agreed to freeze its portion of the Council Tax 2012-13 – through efficiency savings, strategic alliance with neighbouring forces and utilising their reserves. In so doing, they can take advantage of a one of grant from the UK Government, made available to help Police Authorities in England deliver a freeze of their portion of Council Tax. However, these arrangements do not apply in devolved Wales."

Mr Isherwood referred to the? 2.5% increase to the police precept in North Wales and the fact that Independent Police Authority Member Chris Drew proposed a freeze because North Wales Police have over £26 million in reserves.

"The Chief Constable has stated that 2.5% means the Force now needs to cut an additional £900,000 from its budget each year – although it is understood that the anticipated reserves at the end of this financial year are £2 million more than forecast this time last year, roughly the amount required to freeze the precept," he said.

Mr Isherwood added: "The previous UK Labour Government spent record sums on policing but despite this spending and record police numbers, just 14% all police officers’ time was spent on patrol compared with 22% of their time on paperwork.

"We must focus police resources onto the frontline and also encourage efficiencies within those frontline services. In their joint report, 'Sustaining value for money in the police service "The Audit Commission, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Wales Audit Office found that the police in England and Wales could save up to £1 billion without reducing police availability and the October 2010 HMIC report, 'Police Governance in Austerity’, stated that until their abolition, police authorities should focus on setting an affordable direction for policing, and on probing costs and alternatives to offer better value for money for the public."



Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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