Police and Crime Commissioner draft budget approved
Dyfed Powys residents are facing a 6.9 per cent increase in the amount they pay their police force next year.
Plaid police and crime commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn's made his precept and draft budget.
The panel has to be consulted on proposed precepts under schedule 5 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.
Although noting that the precept is above a level they comfortably support, the majority of the panel felt it a price worth paying to ensure services could be improved.
Amongst the improvements being proposed is the re-introduction of a CCTV system, scrapped under the previous Commissioner, and a new custody suite for Carmarthenshire.
Mr Llywelyn also outlined his plans to employ more investigative officers - in particular in the force's Protecting Vulnerable People department - and to invest in its cybercrime unit.
A 6.9 per cent precept would mean an average band D property would pay £213.87 towards policing services - 27p per household more a week for policing.
Pointing out the previous Commissioner's decision to freeze the precept, Mr Llywelyn said he had been left in a difficult decision to bring funding back to a sustainable level to support effective policing.
"I've inherited this position," he said. "In this financial year £3million of reserves have had to be used to bolster the revenue budget. I am trying to get to a balanced and honest budget.
"Some people might say it is a hike - it's not an easy decision, but I'm not going to shy away from it because I think it's the right thing to do," he said.
"It's based on very extensive discussion and ambition to have Dyfed Powys Police perform better. Even with this increase we will still be the cheapest in Wales compared to the other force areas."
Panel members said they were grateful of the opportunity to learn of the Commissioner's plans for the future, in particular around CCTV.
Cllr Gwynne Hopkins, representing Carmarthenshire County Council, said: "This situation is unique in my view - each of the other police forces in Wales have had a gentle increase year on year. I've never agreed to increase a precept by over five per cent, but I've never seen a precept reduce or being frozen either. So, whilst I'm reluctant to do so, I'm in favour."
However, Cllr David Evans, representing Powys County Council, said he and his Powys colleagues could not support such a 'substantial' increase.
Chair of the Panel, Cllr Alun Lloyd Jones, thanked the Commissioner for his report and confirmed the panel's majority support of the proposed precept.
"As a panel, we value the honest and open relationship we have forged with the Commissioner," he said.
"We are working far closer in partnership with Mr Llywelyn than we were able with the previous Commissioner and we are all here to ensure the best possible policing service for Dyfed Powys and the people we represent.
"If the previous Commissioner had not lowered the precept by five per cent two years ago and frozen it the following year, we would not be in a position now where we're having to try and catch up. We are not likely to repeat this level of precept rise again in the future, and in order to achieve the level of policing and service improvements we need it is essential."