Policing precept set to increase by at least £15 a year

By Tom Avery

29th Jan 2021 | Local News

(Left to right) PCC David Keane with chief constable Darren Martland.
(Left to right) PCC David Keane with chief constable Darren Martland.

CHESHIRE'S Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has approved budget proposals that will see the policing precept put at least £15 per year on council tax bills.

David Keane said the rise was needed to deliver "a truly local community police service" across the county.

If adopted, Cheshire Police will recruit an additional 88 officers across the four council areas the force covers.

It follows a public consultation on the budget launched earlier this month in which 68 per cent of the 2,282 respondents said they would be willing to support the precept rise for additional community policing.

The policing precept falls within council tax and the £15 rise applies to Band D properties, meaning those in higher bands can expect a higher increase.

As well as additional officers, the commissioner proposes to invest in the recording and investigation of crimes, tackle road deaths with more average speed cameras and improvements in emergency dispatching.

Mr Keane said: "I'm confident that this budget will allow us to continue to deliver a truly local police service which protects Cheshire residents and builds on the foundations that we have laid so far.

"When the government announced its provisional funding settlement for Cheshire late last year, the chief constable advised me that, without a precept increase, Cheshire Police would be unable to maintain its existing level of service and would be unable to meet the additional operational demands and pressures that we face.

"In reaching my decision regarding the precept, I have carefully considered the views of the public, any government announcements, and the recommendations made to me by the chief constable."

The PCC added that policing budgets were still recovering from "years of cuts" coupled with increasing demands.

Respondents to the consultation listed increased police visibility as their top priority, followed by dealing with serious and organised crime and then dealing with anti-social behaviour.

The consultation also asked respondents how safe they feel in their area, using a sliding scale from 1-10 with 10 being very safe and 1 very unsafe. 78 per cent of respondents rated how safe they feel in their area as '7' or above.

Chief Constable Darren Martland said: "I welcome the budget, which is necessary to develop and enhance our community policing model.

"It enables dedicated PCSOs and police officers to continue to work with communities to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and make our roads safer.

"The increase will also ensure that Cheshire Constabulary has the resources that are critical to tackle some of the complex challenges of serious and organised crime and provide the necessary technology to investigate online crime and abuse."

The commissioner has written to the Police and Crime Panel to set out the precept increase and his budget ahead of its meeting next week where it will be discussed.

     

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