Cheshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner is asking residents if they are willing to support an increase in council tax to pay for crime prevention.
David Keane has launched a consultation with the option to increase the policing precept in local council tax payments by £2 per month for the average band D household.
If the plan goes ahead it would help Cheshire Police to reinvest in neighbourhood policing and tackle serious and complex crime.
The decision to launch the consultation follows what has been described as a “disappointing” annual cash settlement from central government, where the commissioner said the government had once again shifted the burden of police funding onto the local tax payer.
In December, the government announced that Cheshire Constabulary would receive funding to cover unavoidable pressures on policing but it assumes that taxpayers will fund almost two thirds of this through an increase of the policing precept.
David said: “The government has recognised that we need more money for policing but it is putting the burden on local taxpayers. Cheshire Constabulary has made more than £60 million worth of savings since 2010 but with non-pay budgets now over stretched, we have a stark choice to either fund this locally or significantly cut policing numbers.
“I believe that by funding policing through rising council tax, the government is essentially pitting the police against the local population. But without an increase to the precept, the funding offered for 2019/20 is insufficient to cover the existing budget, let alone inflation and increasing demand on our resources.
“With increasing pressures on household budgets, I understand that this proposed government increase to council tax payments is a bitter pill to swallow. However, I been left with no choice but to consult on the difficult option.”
Residents and businesses across Cheshire are being asked to complete a survey to give their views on 2019/20’s precept ahead of the commissioner setting the constabulary’s budget in February.
The commissioner will also be holding a number of consultation events across Cheshire for residents to talk with him directly about their priorities for police funding. Consultation events will be held on the following dates and times:
Crewe – Market Centre, Victoria Street, Saturday 12 January, 11am-2pm
Ellesmere Port – Market Square, Monday 14 January, 11am-2pm
Macclesfield – Sainsbury’s, 61 Cumberland Street, Tuesday 22 January, 11am-2pm
Widnes – Morrisons, Green Oaks Way, Wednesday 23 January, 11am-2pm
Warrington – Golden Square Shopping Centre, Friday 25 January, 11am-2pm
Cheshire residents can also give their views by completing a survey on the Cheshire PCC website here.
The consultation closes at midnight on Sunday 27 January 2019.