Funding announcement for police forces welcomed by Wiltshire’s PCC
Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson has welcomed the government’s latest funding for police forces announced by government yesterday.
Included in the announcement was the fact Wiltshire and Swindon will benefit from 62 new police officers via the national uplift programme as part of the funding formula.
Mr Wilkinson said: “On the face of it, yesterday’s announcement is a positive step in the right direction but it is important that residents realise the figures released yesterday include the assumption that I will take the maximum precept increase and includes the uplift grant to recruit 62 extra officers to Wiltshire.
“That said, I am delighted Wiltshire will have those extra officers to enable us to make positive impacts in our communities, aid the fight against crime and ensure criminals know Wiltshire isn’t a soft option.
“Wiltshire is the fourth lowest-funded force in the country and ensuring we get our fair share will always be top of my agenda. However, we also need to ensure what funding we do have is used efficiently and focused on the front-line and delivery.
“Now I, along with my team, will be looking at what this funding announcement means in real terms in the coming weeks and will be able to pull together our proposals for next year’s precept.
“Once the detail has been scrutinised, I will be able to propose my new budget, including the police precept, and will be asking you to give your views during January.
“I asked some questions around a rise in the policing precept in my latest survey - many of you were keen that I ensured Wiltshire Police get the funding they need to deliver a quality policing service trusted by our communities and I intend to do just that.”
Since 2018, Wiltshire Police’s officer numbers will have increased from 934 to 1096 by March 2022 and will be at 1,158 officers by March 2023. These have been paid for by uplift and the policing precept.
The announcement showed Wiltshire’s funding for policing includes the assumption the Commissioner will take a maximum precept rise to the policing element of the council tax and also includes the additional uplift grant for the extra officers.
Currently, Wiltshire and Swindon residents pay £231 per year, per Band D household, for their policing service.
Mr Wilkinson pointed out the current funding formula confirmed by government meant that PCCs will not be able to ask for more than a £10 per Band D household rise next year – without having to hold a local referendum.
A £10 per year increase is a 4.3% increase and equates to an 83p rise, per month, per household, in a Band D property.
Mr Wilkinson added: “This year has been another incredibly tough one with the economic impact from the pandemic still being felt in many corners of our communities. We know that any increase will be felt keenly.
“No decision has yet been made but delivering the police service that you have asked me to do will be my top priority throughout all of our considerations. You have used your voice and I am listening."