Council tax payers to see bills rise for West Mercia Police contribution

Shropshire residents will be paying more council tax from next year as West Mercia Police is set to increase its precept.

West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner says government funding of the force has not kept up with inflation
West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner says government funding of the force has not kept up with inflation

West Mercia's police and crime commissioner said he had "no choice but to increase the precept", as government funding was not keeping up with inflation.

It is proposed that the average household will pay an extra £9.84 for policing each year, a rise of 3.94 per cent, based on a band D property.

However, the force has pledged an extra 20 officers for communities as part of its proposed budget for 2023/24.

These additional officers will bring the force’s establishment figure to 2,476, and they will be based at the heart of communities, addressing and tackling community concerns.

Police and crime commissioner John Campion said: “I am committed to ensuring this budget continues the delivery of my Safer West Mercia Plan, whilst tackling the unavoidable cost pressures we face and maximising the value of investments I have made to address the concerns of communities.

“Communities have told me loud and clear that they want more police officers. This is why I have ensured that frontline policing numbers are protected, but I have also allocated funding to boost numbers by a further 20 to focus on tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in communities.

"It is also important that the public can access West Mercia Police, so investment will also be placed in improving public contact.

“I have always promised that I would ensure every penny is spent wisely, before ever asking for more, but I am in a position where I have no choice but to increase the precept, due to the fact the funding that comes from Government isn’t going to keep up with inflation. However, I hope communities can see that I’ve worked hard to control costs, and I have remained focused on delivering what they want, and expect, despite budgets being squeezed.”

The budget will also focus on addressing community concerns, such as road safety, anti-social behaviour and drugs – which were identified as part of a consultation Mr Campion carried out earlier in the year.

Other areas of focus include bringing more offenders to justice, preventing crime and ensuring the journey for victims is improved through the use of technology. However, the budget setting has also had to address challenges associated with inflation.

Residents of West Mercia can have their say on the propose budget until Friday, January 6 by completing the PCC’s consultation at westmercia-pcc.gov.uk/budget

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