COUNCIL tax payers could face a rise of almost seven per cent in the amount they pay towards policing in Gwent April.

A second successive 6.99 per cent increase is being proposed in the annual police precept - equating to an additional £1.49 a month, or almost £18 a year, for a band D property.

Most residents support a precept rise if it means more police on the streets, the results of a public consultation by the Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner's (PCC) office show.

The increase would contribute to maintaining police officer levels, meeting increased levels of crime, and avoiding cuts to frontline services.

But even with the planned increase, a budget deficit of £1.2 million is predicted for Gwent Police next year.

The Gwent PCC's office is expected to allocate £668,000 of reserves towards closing that deficit, a report says.

The precept increase will also go towards funding new police staff roles to support the 170 police officer posts created since 2016.

A report says the number of police staff jobs in front line and supporting functions has gone up by 45, to 746, this financial year.

This equates to around one new staff role for every four police officer roles which have been created during the past four years.

Staff roles have been created in areas areas such as cyber crime, the force control room, police staff investigators, and in support functions such as learning and development, business change, and the estate department.

But the increase in roles was not anticipated in setting this year’s budget, as the number of jobs that needed to be created was not correctly calculated.


Uncertainty around government funding, including over the long term funding of new police officers, has also contributed to the predicted deficit.

A police funding settlement for next year was announced last week, but a provisional one was cancelled due to December's general election.

The level of uncertainty is described as ‘unprecedented’ in a report to be considered by Gwent’s Police and Crime Panel.

Residents were asked through a survey if they would support a £2 a month increase - which equates to a rise of 9.39 per cent - to maintain policing provision at current levels.

Of 1,707 responses, 66.6 per cent were in favour, 22.9 per cent against and 10.5 per cent unsure.

The proposed increase is lower than the one set out in the public consultation.

“Most of the feedback, both verbally and in writing, wanted to see more police on the streets,” the report says.

“Respondents either supported an increase in the council tax precept for this reason, or said they didn’t support it as it wouldn’t result in more police officers.”