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Cost of policing in North Wales to rise

Published date: 22 February 2012 |
Published by: Terry Canty
Read more articles by Terry Canty


 

HOUSEHOLDERS face paying more for their police force following the latest round of funding talks.

Members of the Police Authority agreed by ten votes to five to a 2.5 per cent hike in the funding element of the council tax bill for the next 12 months.

A move to not introduce a rise and instead raid reserves of £32 million, was defeated by nine votes to four, while a proposed rise of four per cent was thrown out amid fears it would be unfair to the public.

Treasurer Nigel Thomas, told Friday’s meeting in St Asaph, a four per cent rise would offer the best balance between the needs to provide sufficient funds to sustain the force at a time of far reaching change, and to limit the impact on the council tax payer while a freeze could hit services and the workforce.

Independent member, Chris Drew, of Llandudno, proposing a zero increase, described the status quo move as “the right balance between prudence and hoarding”.

Chairman Alun Lewis called for a four per cent rise, warning a freeze “would be catastrophic in terms of services we provide”.

Mark Polin, Chief constable of North Wales Police, said: “Today’s decision means that the force now needs to cut an additional £900k from its budget each year.

“We will now take stock and examine how that funding will be found.

“This will be particularly difficult given much of the organisation has already been comprehensively reviewed to drive out savings, as the authority recognised today.

“Given that 80 per cent of our budget is expended on staff it is inevitable that today’s decision will result ultimately in North Wales Police being a still smaller organisation.

“It will therefore affect our ability to employ the same number people and cause us to reconsider our recruitment plans for the coming year.

“As ever we will strive to do our very best for communities and protect service delivery as far as possible.”

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