Paying more for your police?

Mark Burns-Williamson
Mark Burns-Williamson

The Council Tax precept paid to West Yorkshire Police could rise by 3.6 per cent to protect PCSOs and fund the recruitment of more officers.

The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Burns-Williamson has requested the increase in his annual precept budget report to the Police and Crime Panel.

He said in the report: “Continuing the recruitment of police officers and protecting the current number of PCSOs to protect the frontline as far as possible is a priority for the PCC.

“Given the severe reductions in government support faced in the next comprehensive spending review period, the only means of allowing for any police officer recruitment above our budgeted establishment is to increase the police council tax.”

The force has lost 2,000 employees since 2010 and has had £140m slashed from its funding. Its core government funding for 2016/17 has been cut by 2.25 per cent on the previous year. The report states that the council tax rise would generate a further £3.09m for the force in cash terms. But it would mean most households paying an extra £4 to £5 per year in precept to fund policing.

If the Police and Crime Panel, made of councillors from Wakefield, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Leeds, approve the proposals, it would take the policing budget to £408.8m.