A message from the Police and Crime Commissioner
As your Police and Crime Commissioner, it is my job to set the budget for Warwickshire Police for the next financial year and also ensure support services have the resources they need to help victims of crime across the county.
When setting the budget, I must weigh the impact of any increases in the police element of Council Tax (known as the Police Precept) on households against the cost pressures on policing. My aim is to seek a fair outcome which keeps taxation levels as low as possible while also protecting local services.
The impact of rising costs
This year we have all been faced with rising costs, with the price of fuel, utilities and a wide range of our everyday purchases now much higher than in previous years, as the impact of inflation and other factors starts to take hold.
The same is true in policing and across the public sector as a whole. The funding required to pay for our increased officer numbers and to buy the goods and services necessary to support the front line is continuing to increase.
This all adds up to considerable cost pressures for Warwickshire Police. The budget must provide for increases in pay and National Insurance, as well as meeting the need to invest in the services such as IT, human resources, finance systems and the vehicles and buildings which will support a record 1,100 officers by the end of 2022.
Stand still or move forward?
Our calculations reveal that it is likely that Warwickshire Police will need to receive an additional £1.4million in 2022/23 in order to meet all of these cost pressures and therefore to effectively stand still in budgetary terms.
This equates to an increase of around 2.6% on either the grant we receive from central government or the Police Precept.
The Government has given Police and Crime Commissioners the flexibility to raise the precept by a maximum of £10 a year or 83 pence per month for an average (Band D) household. Those in lower bands would pay proportionately less, while those in higher bands would pay proportionately more. This equates to a percentage increase of 3.95% and would raise around £500,000 more than a standstill budget. This is still a below-inflation increase.
While the total amount a maximum increase could raise is not as significant as in previous years, it would enable Warwickshire Police to continue to make a number of further improvements to the service it delivers.
Tell me your views
With higher costs of living and the impact of the pandemic continuing to affect all households, I know that any increase in the precept next year is going to be challenging. That’s why I want to hear as many views as possible before taking a final decision on the precept in the New Year, once the full funding picture emerges from the Government.
I want to hear from you your views on the priorities for spending for the next year and beyond, what concerns you might have where you live and your views on the level of council tax you are prepared to pay.
The survey should take no more than five minutes to complete and I appreciate every response we receive and your continued support for policing.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner