|Residents of Wiltshire and Swindon have only days left to have their say on the policing budget as the Police and Crime Commissioner considers an average increase of 5.2% – an extra £1.09 a month for a Band D property.
Launched in December by the PCC, the Policing, Priorities and £s survey seeks the views of residents and stakeholders as he develops the budget for policing and commissioned services for the next financial year (2024/25).
As part of the survey, respondents are asked whether their household would be prepared to invest more in policing through the police precept element of their council tax. This, alongside a grant from the government, accounts for the entire budget for policing in the county.
Mr Wilkinson said: “With just a few days left of my Policing, Priorities and ££s Survey, I want to encourage all residents of Wiltshire and Swindon to make their opinions known – your feedback is of upmost value to me and my office.
“My team and I have been engaging with residents, face-to-face and digitally across the county since the beginning of December and I want everyone to have the opportunity to have their say.
“Wiltshire Police is facing increased financial pressures as we strive to deliver the necessary service improvements required but I am acutely aware the impact any increase could have on our communities at an already challenging time and any future decisions will be influenced by your feedback.”
Last week Mr Wilkinson announced that he’s considering an average increase of 5.2% – an extra £13 a year for a Band D property, based on the real terms Home Office funding settlement increase of just 1.9% (£1.5m) once nationally agreed pay increases and pension changes have been accounted for.
As it stands, due to the national police funding formula, Wiltshire Police is the second lowest funded police force in the country per head of capita, and will still need to make savings of £2.4m to cover the funding gap in 2024-25, as set out in the Mid Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) which was presented to the Police and Crime Panel last week.
Mr Wilkinson added: “We’ve seen some significant achievements in the past year that should be reassuring to our communities, including a fourfold improvement in positive outcomes for Rape and Serious Sexual Offences and Wiltshire Police becoming the top performing force nationally in disrupting county lines per head in capita.
“Whilst key improvements have been delivered over past 12 months, there is still much to do to make Wiltshire safer and we need to continue to invest in key areas to maintain the improvements that we are now seeing across the board.
“Both the Chief Constable and I are committed to delivering a policing service which meets an ever-changing crime picture and is fit for the future.”
The survey will close on Monday 29th January 2024. You can take the survey here.