Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin wants to know if people in the county are prepared to pay more in council tax for extra police officers on the streets.
Ms Brabin is urging local people to have their say on the police budget for 2022-23 with the launch of a new survey https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/funding-our-police-2022.
The survey asks whether people would support raising the police element of the local council tax, called the ‘precept’, to enable further recruitment of police officers and staff.
The survey follows the recent Government annual funding settlement announcement for policing, which expects police and crime commissioners and metro mayors to raise further money locally through increasing their precepts.
The proposed increase is 4.7%. Over 81% of properties in West Yorkshire fall within Bands A, B and C meaning most people would not pay more than an extra £8.89 a year (17.1p per week). This equates to an extra £10 a year (19p per week) on a Band D property.
Ms Brabin said: “I am responsible for setting the annual budget for West Yorkshire Police. This includes agreeing the local ‘precept’ but before I do that, I really want to know what people think.
“The recent funding announcement from the Government was disappointing and in reality, an apparent £21.4m increase locally is forecast to equate to £7.9m when inflation, increases in staff pay and National Insurance costs are factored in.
“This money needs to pay for 341 police officers, so effectively gives West Yorkshire Police a mere £23.2k per officer, which doesn’t even cover starting salaries, let alone the cost of equipment and training.
“The way that Government funds police services means that without increasing the precept West Yorkshire Police would have to make significant savings which would result in a reduction of police services.
“We all want our police service to be funded properly, to help make West Yorkshire safe, just and inclusive. Whilst I will continue to press the Government for a better funding deal, work locally must continue.
“Having recently undertaken one of the widest consultation exercises in West Yorkshire for my Police and Crime Plan, I know that there is a significant appetite for change across our communities and that keeping our places and people safe is a priority, as well as specifically increasing the number of police officers and staff, and improving the safety of women and girls.
“I know this is an especially difficult time for everyone so before I make a recommendation on your local police budget, I really would like to know what you think. Please do get involved and complete the survey https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/funding-our-police-2022.”
The budget survey closes at 5pm on Tuesday January 25.
If anyone would like the survey in a different format contact the Policing and Crime Team at on 0113 348 1740 or email email@example.com.