Have your say on the policing budget as West Yorkshire’s PCC launches his “Community Conversation” (7 Jan 2016)

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson, is launching a Community Conversation to see how local people want the policing budget to be spent.

In mid-December the Government announced how much money the PCC and West Yorkshire Police will receive in 2016/2017 for policing and community safety.

And with further challenges ahead in terms of the money available, the PCC is asking for the views of local people about where the limited money should go.

Mark Burns-Williamson, said:

"The last year saw a lot of challenges for policing - both locally and nationally. Substantial Government cuts to policing have undoubtedly made an impact and will continue to do so with West Yorkshire Police having £140m cut from its budget since 2010.

"In November the Government announced a new settlement for police funding. This announcement followed many months of campaigning by myself, West Yorkshire Police, our partners and members of the public in persuading Government to think again about taking risks with community safety.

"However since the announcement I have waited to find out the 'devil in the detail' of what the Government was proposing. Taking into account inflation, there will in fact be a cut of over £6m (2.3%) next year in real terms to the budget despite what was said from the despatch box in parliament. That means more hard choices ahead.

"One way the cut could be slightly offset is by increasing the amount people pay for the police through their police council tax.

"The police precept (police council tax) currently makes up roughly 10% of the full council tax bill. As Police and Crime Commissioner I can increase this slightly and, with West Yorkshire currently having the third lowest police precept in England and Wales, I am considering a rise which would equate to up to £5 on a Band D property.  This flexibility has been recognised by Government as West Yorkshire is one of the areas in the bottom 10 precept levels for policing.

"60% of people in West Yorkshire are currently in band A and B properties and the increase would be proportionate to how much they currently pay - those in lower banded properties would increase less than £5 per year up to Band D.

"It's choices like this that have to be made and I want to hear people's views. I know policing and community safety are important priorities for people in West Yorkshire, and people's feedback is important.

"Decisions on the budget will be made in early February and the feedback provided will form part of my considerations going forward.

"You can find out more and join in the Community Conversation through my website at /get-involved/community-conversation.aspx  The closing date for responses is Monday 25 January 2016."

There will also be a web chat on the Community Conversation, where people get the opportunity to ask questions on the budget and any issues in their area, on Tuesday 12 January at 6.30pm. 

Anyone who would like to submit a question ahead of time can do so via Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #AskYourPCC or via email to [email protected]

You can join in the web chat and sign up for an email reminder here /news-events/web-chats.aspx

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