PROPOSALS to increase the amount of Council Tax paid towards maintaining neighbourhood police services across south Wales have been put forward by the South Wales Police and Crime Panel.

Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael has proposed a rise of seven per cent for the section of Council Tax that goes towards funding the police, equivalent to £15.45 per year for someone living in a Band D property. This would take the total household spending towards the police budget to £233.52 for Band D homes in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Council Tax payers in South Wales will still pay less towards the police precept than households in Gwent and North Wales, but more than those under Dyfed-Powys.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael said: "The increase is essential to help maintain the service, while allowing us to protect vulnerable people and continue to invest in the future of policing in South Wales.

"Even with this new level of precept we will have to make savings – that is cut spending – by £3.5million in the coming year, while tackling significant growth in demand and preventing crime through early intervention and prompt, positive action.

"We have taken a balanced approach to soften the impact on policing in our communities, while keeping the burden on the rate payer to a minimum.

"Even with the seven per cent increase in the police precept, South Wales Police remains the best value for money police force in terms of the cost to council tax payers in Wales."

The precept was approved at a meeting of the South Wales Police and Crime Panel in Merthyr earlier today (January 30).

The number of police officers in south Wales been cut from 3,400 to just 2,800 since 2010. South Wales Police say the precept increase will allow officer numbers to be maintained at their current level, including those allocated specifically to dealing with rising demand of online threats and protecting vulnerable people.