Give your views on po­lice tax

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page - BY JOHN MCDOUGALL john.mcdougall@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @JMacD1988

HALTON res­i­dents’ views are be­ing sought on po­ten­tial in­creases to the polic­ing pre­cept of coun­cil tax bills.

Cheshire Po­lice And Crime Com­mis­sioner David Keane is ask­ing Halton res­i­dents for their thoughts on fund­ing for the po­lice ser­vice.

Three fund­ing op­tions are avail­able for the fol­low­ing year and res­i­dents are be­ing asked if they would sup­port an in­crease of ei­ther 1% or 2% to the polic­ing el­e­ment of coun­cil tax.

The third op­tion avail­able is no rise to the pre­cept.

A spokes­woman for Mr Keane said that freez­ing at cur­rent lev­els would re­quire re­duc­tions in polic­ing ser­vices through a £1.2m cut, which is equiv­a­lent to 26 fewer po­lice of­fi­cers.

A 1% rise would still re­sult in a cut of £600,000 and is equiv­a­lent to 13 fewer po­lice of­fi­cers.

Mr Keane said: “Re­cent years have seen se­vere cuts to pub­lic ser­vices from suc­ces­sive Gov­ern­ments.

“The re­sult lo­cally has been that we have had to find £52.4 mil­lion of sav­ings over the past seven years.

“The Gov­ern­ment has said that po­lice bud­gets will be pro­tected at cur­rent lev­els.

“How­ever it isn’t quite that sim­ple, as the Gov­ern­ment com­mit­ment does not take into ac­count in­fla­tion and is based on lo­cal Po­lice And Crime Com­mis­sion­ers in­creas­ing the po­lice share of coun­cil tax, known as the polic­ing pre­cept, by 2%.

“I com­mit­ted to speak­ing to the pub­lic about po­lice fund­ing prior to mak­ing any de­ci­sion and I am keep­ing my prom­ise.

“I know this is a tough de­ci­sion, par­tic­u­larly as many peo­ple are con­tin­u­ing to feel that they have less money in their pocket af­ter the bills have gone out, but I be­lieve that a 2% in­crease, just 6p a week ● for a Band D av­er­age house­hold, to main­tain fund­ing would pro­vide strong sup­port for lo­cal polic­ing.”

Res­i­dents will be able to of­fer their views on­line un­til Tues­day, Jan­uary 24, on whether fund­ing for the po­lice ser­vice should be main­tained and the out­come will in­flu­ence the de­ci­sion Mr Keane makes about the polic­ing pre­cept.

Mr Keane added: “I’m clear that main­tain­ing cur­rent fund­ing lev­els through a 2% in­crease in the pre­cept would not mean lo­cal polic­ing stands still.

“Through care­ful re-pri­ori­ti­sa­tion and in­creased ef­fi­ciency, the peo­ple of Cheshire will see in­vest­ments in ar­eas of polic­ing you told me were im­por­tant as I de­vel­oped the Po­lice And Crime Plan.

“Amongst other things, in­vest­ment will be made in sup­port­ing vic­tims of sex­ual abuse, lo­cal polic­ing, in­vest­ment in cut­ting edge tech­nol­ogy to sup­port pub­lic con­tact and road safety, and the pro­vi­sion of a mod­ern fit for pur­pose es­tate all en­sur­ing polic­ing in Cheshire is con­nected with our com­mu­ni­ties.

“I have been work­ing with Si­mon Byrne, the chief con­sta­ble, to study the ex­ist­ing budget and will be mak­ing a num­ber of ef­fi­ciency sav­ings. What I now need is your view on the po­lice pre­cept.”

For more in­for­ma­tion cheshire-pcc.gov.uk visit www.

David Keane

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