Next year’s budget for Gwent Police has been agreed by Gwent Police Authority.
The budget for April 2010 to March 2011 is £121.6 million – a 3.2% increase from the current financial year.
This means there will be a 3.85% increase for council taxpayers, equivalent to a £6.72 increase for a Band D property.
The full council tax rate will not be known until Caerphilly County Borough Council agrees its budget – which is due soon.
Cilla Davies, chair of the Gwent Police Authority, said: “The decisions made today were very carefully considered, balancing the need for a high quality police service with an understanding of the current economic circumstances of local residents and the prospect that we must be financially prepared and able to implement the Government’s initiatives.
“The force has worked extremely hard over the last two years to identify areas where efficiency savings can be made to avoid the possibility of significant funding shortfalls now or in the future and we are very pleased with the results so far.
“Gwent Police and Police Authority have, over the last two years, undertaken the biggest change programme the force has seen for the last forty years. We believe we are now in a good position to deal with the difficult financial times ahead.
“With our Chief Constable, we are happy to support the further recruitment of 150 officers this year and are committed to continuing to provide a sustainable police force which offers a high level of service to the residents of Gwent.”
Chief Constable Mick Giannasi said: “We are committed to providing people in Gwent with an effective, efficient and modern police service which is sustainable and represents value for money, this budget will enable us to make progress towards that aim.”
The force is still facing a tough financial outlook though and could be facing a £10 million budget shortfall by 2013 because of Home Office cuts.
£4 million worth of “efficiency savings” have been identified for the coming financial year including £200,000 from the estates budget, which looks after police stations.
Council leader Lindsay Whittle has been campaigning about possible police station closures and is making it a key issue in his bid to become Caerphilly’s Member of Parliament for Plaid Cymru.
The party revealed in October last year that 25 Gwent Police stations are on a list slated for closure, five of them in Caerphilly County Borough.
It has been reported that stations in Caerphilly town, Fochriw, Nelson, Abertridwr and Lansbury Park are under threat and could be replaced by “mobile units”.
Gwent Police has maintained that decisions to close police stations have not been made.