TAXPAYERS in Gwent will pay an average of 19p extra per week for police services from April, it has been announced.

Gwent police and crime commissioner (PCC) Jeff Cuthbert the portion of council tax which goes to police services will go up by 4.37 per cent in the 2018-2019 financial year.

This means the average band D property in Gwent will pay £238.84 for policing and related services next year, up £10.00 on this year.

Mr Cuthbert, formerly AM for Caerphilly, had previously proposed an increase of 4.49 per cent, but reduced it after Gwent's independent Police and Crime Panel asked him to instead consider a 3.39 per cent rise.

The PCC has said the increase is necessary to ensure Gwent Police is able to continue to run services and balance its budget next year.

“The decision to increase the precept is not one I have taken lightly and I recognise that any increase in taxation at any level will be challenging for some of our residents," he said.

"However, this is the right decision for policing and the safety of our communities and it received endorsement from the public in my consultation.

"This budget will enable Gwent Police to maintain and protect the number of officers it currently has and achieve a balanced budget next year.

"It’s about sustainability moving forward.”

In a consultation 68 per cent of Gwent residents said they would be in favour of a 3.99 per cent increase, which 54.6 per cent said they would support a 4.99 per cent rise and 51.8 per cent approved a 5.99 per cent rise.

Mr Cuthbert added: “I would like to thank all of the residents of Gwent who took the time to give me their views and I would like to thank the Gwent Police and Crime Panel for their challenge and scrutiny.”