Budget and precept 2014-15
Budget and precept 2014-15
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones has
published proposals for the police budget and precept for
Summary of proposals
- Recruitment of up to 250 police officers in 2014-15 and up to
200 police officers in 2015-16
- Recruitment of up to 100 police staff posts in 2014-15 to
release police officers for duties on the streets of the West
- Creation of a £10 million reserve to spend on new "invest to
save" technologies identified by the Innovation and Integration
- Use of £60 million of available reserves to support the new
recruitment and the "invest to save" reserve
- An increase in the police precept of about £3 per year (equal
to 6p per week for an average household, or 3% overall),
approximately in line with inflation, to ensure that the new
recruitment is sustainable
A consultation on these proposals ran from 5 November 2013
to Friday 20 December 2013.
The Police Precept - second lowest in the
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones is
responsible for setting the budget for West Midlands Police.
He also sets the local "police precept" - that is the part of
Council Tax that goes to the police. Currently, this is
£102.43 a year.
Our precept is the second lowest in the country. The next
lowest, in West Yorkshire - which is a Force similar to West
Midlands Police - has a precept of £138 a year. In
other similar forces, such as Greater Manchester and Merseyside,
precepts are over £150 a year. Our regional neighbours
(Stafforshire, West Mercia and Warwickshire) all have precepts of
about £180 a year. The highest precepts in the country are
more than double ours.
Cuts to government funding
Keeping the precept low is good for the West Midlands, but it
makes us more dependent on central government funding. Some
forces rely on government funding for about half their total
income, whereas government funding makes up 88% of our total
budget. The government has made flat rate cuts to the funding
for the police in recent years. As we are more reliant on
this money, these cuts have hit us harder than others, and in total
we have so far cut £126 million from the budget. There's
been a recruitment freeze and officers with 30 years service have
been required to retire.
Through careful planning, ambitious efforts to cut costs and
people leaving the organisation more quickly than expected, we've
hit our savings targets ahead of schedule. This has meant
that we have underspent, and our reserves have increased.
Reserves can only be spent once, so any plan to use them has to be
Finally, there is a police funding formula that says what share
of national funding each police should receive. For
historical reasons, some forces receive more than the formula says
they need, and some receive less. We receive a lot
less. This year, we'll receive £43 million less than the
formula says we're entitled to - a loss over three times
greater than any other force.
Overall then, West Midlands Police has the worst financial
position of any police force in the country.
Concerns about crime levels and the crime "tipping
The last ten years have seen dramatic falls in recorded
crime. Worryingly however, in recent months there have been
some indications that crime has flat-lined - the decreases have
stopped. Some categories of recorded crime are
increasing. There is a danger that the things we do to
prevent crime - such as neighbourhood policing - will be sucked
into responding to crime instead. Bob Jones has talked about
the danger of a "tipping point" at which responding to
crime means that prevention is sacrificed, in turn leading to more
crime. An injection of new officers will stabilise the
workforce, offset the ageing of the workforce - by next year there
will be no police officers under 25 - and help make the force more
representative of the communities it serves. The decision to
end the compulsory retirement of police officers rests with the
Chief Constable and not the PCC, but these budget proposals will
enable early consideration of whether the current position can be
More information is available in the Chief Financial Officer's
report to the
Strategic Policing and Crime Board on 5 November 2013.
The survey ran from 5 November 2013 to Friday 20 December
Results will be published for the meeting of the Strategic
Policing and Crime Board on 7 January 2014.