How much should we pay for policing our communities?
That’s the question I’ve been asking over the past week. We need to set a new budget for the next financial year, which begins in April. That means I need to set the local tax that pays for the police and all the work my office does through commissioned services.
We get about £54m a year from central government. We know that is going to get less. We raise about £46m a year from local taxes. That has risen over the years, although I have reduced the rises since being elected into office.
By the end of my term (in May 2016), we will have reduced the costs of the police by £8.8m. That includes cutting the amount spent on the top ten salaries by 20%. We will have 30 extra officers on the beat. New smartphones will mean the same officers can spend another 100,000 hours a year on patrol next year.
We also have significant reserves. Some of these are allocated for specific projects. But some are the result of us spending less than planned. What should we do with that? We could keep it for a rainy day. We could invest it. Or, we could return it to taxpayers.
That’s what many politicians in Wales fail to understand. Taxing more is so much easier than taking the difficult decisions to save money, as we have done. Every decision I make is about how to ensure we have the safest communities in the country for the least possible cost.
We live in one of the poorest regions of the UK. Every penny of the £100m I spend comes from people’s pockets. It’s your money and Dyfed Powys is your police force to protect your communities.
Now, I’d like to know what you think about how much policing our communities should cost next year.
We have a short survey here. It’s one page and three easy questions. Please, take a few moments to tell me what you think.