Many householders in Penarth, facing yet another inflation-busting hike in South Wales Police Precept charges, will find themselves forking-out well over £400 on top of their Council Tax this year.
The so-called ‘South Wales Police and Crime Panel‘ has this week agreed to Labour Police an Crime Commissioner Alun Michael’s fourth successive request to increase his 2016/17 Police Precept Charges on local householders – this time by 4% .
This is a rise which is – yet again – way above the rate of inflation but the lowest imposed since Alun Michael was first elected in 2012 ; he stands for re-election in May.
Nominally local authorities and the South Wales Police quote the precept-increase which is applicable to a wholly-unrepresentative Band “D” property – a strategy which creates the illusory impression of a relatively low increase. (A Band “D” increase of “16p a week” is being quoted by South Wales Police).
In fact most people in Penarth don’t live in Band D properties – and the charge they actually face will be considerably higher than the figures being publicly bandied-about. The actual charges appear in the table below – taken from South Wales Police and Crime Panel documents :-
The highest police charges will be faced by those living in Penarth properties in a Band I category who will be charged £484.99 on top of their Council Tax for their police services over the next 12 months. The next highest will be those living in Band H properties who face a bill of £415.70 .
The total annual South Wales Police Precept now being charged to Vale Council Tax Payers alone is £11,754,008. The entire impost for the whole of the South Wales Police area for 2016/17 will be £99,278,585.
Alun Michael claims his force has had to make what he calls “tough decisions” – blaming, funding cuts from the Home Office. What has not been publicly trumpeted however is the revelation that Alun Michael is now planning to increase the number of police officers – currently at 2,800.
An internal report laid before the South Wales Police and Crime Panel this week said “The Commissioner and the Chief Constable wish to move closer to 3,000 police officers (to help meet the new and escalating operational threats).” Exactly what these “escalating threats” actually are is not explained. Elsewhere in the same report it’s claimed that crime is at a 30-year low .
The South Wales Police and Crime Panel report also states “ Whilst the ongoing national economic climate has a significant bearing on the acceptability in level of police precept to be levied on local taxpayers it is also recognised that in times of economic decline the requirements for an efficient and effective police service rise considerably”. No evidence is produced in the report to substantiate this claim.
The unelected members of the South Wales and Crime Panel who rubber-stamped the latest increase in the South Wales Police Precept are:-
- Bridgend County Borough Council = Cllr Martyn Jones (Labour)
- Cardiff Council = Cllr Kathryn Lloyd (Liberal Dem ) and Cllr Daniel De’Ath (Labour)
- Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council = Cllr Ernie Galsworthy (Labour)
- Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council = Cllr Peter Rees (Labour)
- Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council= Cllr Shelley Rees-Owen (Plaid) and Cllr Robert Smith (Labour)
- Swansea Council = Cllr Paulette Smith (Labour) and Cllr Gareth Sullivan (Independent)
- Vale of Glamorgan Council = Cllr Anne Moore (Labour)
The two co-opted members are:
- Mr Martyn Jones (a different person from Cllr Martyn Jones – listed above)
- Mr Mel Jehu