By KLTV Newsdesk –
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire is urging local people to have their say on the police budget for 2022/23 with the launch of a new survey.
The survey, which can be accessed online, is asking residents whether they would support raising the police element of the local council tax, called the ‘precept’, to enable further recruitment of police officers and staff to keep communities safe.
The survey follows the recent Government annual funding settlement announcement for policing, which announced initial funding of £21.4m, and expects PCCs and Metro Mayors to raise further money locally through increasing their precepts.
The proposed increase in the police element of the tax is 4.7%. Over 81% of properties in West Yorkshire fall within Bands A, B and C meaning most people would pay around £8.89 a year extra. Band D properties would pay slightly more, an extra £10 a year.
‘Appetite for Change’
When discussing the proposal, Mayor Brabin said: “I am responsible for setting the annual budget for West Yorkshire Police. This includes agreeing with the local ‘precept’ but before I do that, I really want to know what people think.”
Mayor Brabin described the initial funding announcement from the Government as “disappointing” and noted that the £21.4m increase is forecast to actually equate to £7.9m when costs such as national insurance, increases in staff pay, and inflation are factored in.
She added: “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.”
Mayor Brabin warned that not increasing the precept for West Yorkshire Police would mean savings would have to be made resulting 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.” Mayor Brabin said.
“Having recently undertaken one of the widest consultation exercises in West Yorkshire, 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”
The budget survey closes at 5 pm on Tuesday 25th January 2022.
If anyone would like the survey in a different format contact the Policing and Crime Team at on 0113 348 1740 or email policingandcrime@westyorks-ca.