NORTH WALES’ policing precept will increase by 4.97% from last year, following a decision this week, amid claims a public consultation is insufficient.
At a North Wales Police and Crime Panel meeting at Bodlondeb, the panel agreed the police will charge an extra £16.56 annually for a band D property.
The chamber heard how this amounts to 32p extra a week, effective from April this year.
But whilst North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin argued that more than half of people in North Wales were supportive of an even greater rise of £17.50, a member of the panel rubbished the claims.
Mr Dunbobbin’s team said a survey taken over six weeks between 27 November 2023 and 7 January 2024 garnered over 1,500 responses, with over half who answered being in favour of the precept rise.
But panel member and Conwy councillor Louise Emery, whilst generally supportive of the rise, said the figures only represented a tiny proportion of North Wales’ 695,000 plus population.
Instead Cllr Emery said the figures needed to represent a wider slice of people.
“If any of the public are listening who didn’t fill in the survey, I think the survey is a bit of a red herring for me because that is 0.03% of the population,” said Cllr Emery.
“So I discount these people who want to pay more tax, and I think we need to look at that. It would be great to get to at least 5% of people who are interested in police matters, so I put this survey to one side.”
The same survey questioned by Cllr Emery suggested that 77% of people in North Wales have confidence in the way the region is policed.
In a statement released after the meeting, Police and Crime Commissioner Mr Dunbobbin said: “I would like to thank the North Wales Police and Crime Panel for agreeing to my proposed increase in the policing precept. I value their input and scrutiny and appreciate their views on behalf of the residents of the region.
“While the increase is lower than might have been expected, and also less than many who took part in the survey were prepared to pay for policing, I still understand constraints that many are living under due to the cost-of-living crisis. As such, I will continue to work hard with the Chief Constable to deliver a well-funded, well-resourced, and well-run police service that secures for the people of North Wales safer neighbourhoods, a fair and effective criminal justice system, and supports victims and communities.”
In the same statement, John Williams, chairman of North Wales Police and Crime Panel, said: “The Police and Crime Panel on having agreed the Commissioner’s Police Budget for 2024/25 are aware of, and mindful of, the financial constraints affecting all council tax payers in North Wales but believe that the police precept remains at a level which supports an effective and efficient police service and gives good value for money.”