WEST Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore has confirmed that the precept level will be held at a zero per cent increase for 2013/14.

This announcement follows a meeting of the Police and Crime Panel where Mr Longmore’s proposal was considered and accepted.

Mr Longmore said: “The panel have supported my proposal to have a zero per cent increase in the police precept this year.

“It is a proposal which I have carefully thought through, taking into consideration the force’s financial position, people’s views and the level of reserves. I am confident this is the right decision for local people, especially at a time when many are already struggling with their household budgets.

“I am very conscious that over the next three years our budget reduces year on year as government grant falls. Not all commissioners have been able to avoid precept increases this year.

“I still have to deliver some £21 million of savings and my medium term financial plan sets out how this will be done.  In reaching this year’s decision I have had to balance the need to maintain police officer strength against the ability of people to pay more. I shall be closely monitoring the performance of the force as the reductions take effect.”

People wishing to comment on the Police and Crime Plan can still do so – the consultation closes on February 15. People can either write to OPCC West Mercia, PO Box 487, Shrewsbury, SY2 6WB or email opcc@westmercia.pnn.police.uk.