Rising Cost of Policing 'Will Hit Poor Hardest'
Byline: Clare Hutchinson firstname.lastname@example.org
A PLAN to increase the amount South Wales householders pay for policing by 7% has been approved.
In a three-hour meeting, the South Wales police and crime panel yesterday voted to approve the precept, despite fears it would "hit the poorest people hardest".
For residents living in a typical Band D council tax property that means the police precept from April will rise by 7% to PS181.28 - a rise of PS11.85 in real terms, or 22p a week.
But the plan has yet to be approved by the Welsh Government's Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant, who has the power to cap increases in the police precept.
South Wales' police commissioner Alun Michael said the steep rise was needed to help make up a PS15m shortfall in funding compared with other forces in Wales.
Since 1997 the force's police precept has not risen as sharply as those in Dyfed-Powys, Gwent and North Wales.
And Mr Michael claims the refusal by the former South Wales Police Authority to catch up with Wales' other forces has led to South Wales missing out on PS141m of potential funding.
After the latest precept rise, the force will still be PS17.75 behind Gwent Police, which has the second-lowest precept in Wales.
This is despite South Wales - as home to Wales' capital city - having greater demands on its resources than the other forces.
But Plaid councillor Pauline Jarman, who represents Mountain Ash, told the panel a 7% increase in the police precept would be "inhuman" for the poorest people living in Rhondda Cynon Taf. …