Thursday 12th January

Firstly I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year.

2016 was an exciting and challenging year as I took up post as you Police & Crime Commissioner, worked with you to develop the Police & Crime Plan and set out the vision for local policing for the years to come. 2017 onwards will be focused on working with Chief Constable and key partner organisations across Cheshire to ensure that this vision is delivered for the public of Cheshire.

A significant part of delivering for our communities will be continuing to ensure that residents have a voice in policing and are able to have their opinions heard. I consider this as a fundamental part of my role and was my commitment to you from the very start.

As the Police & Crime Plan is delivered, amongst other things, you will continue to have a voice in setting the priorities for our police service, you will have a voice in providing me with feedback on how our police service is performing for you and you will have a voice on how we fund our police service.

It is on that final point that I am currently seeking your views.

Up until 24th January 2017 you will be able to tell me whether you think funding for Cheshire Constabulary should be maintained at current levels or reduced.

As part of the consultation on the policing precept residents have been giving their views in a number of different ways.

The online survey sets out 3 clear options; no increase, a 1% increase or an increase of 2%.

Given the Government’s approach to the police grant does not take into account inflation and is based on Commissioners increasing the local policing precept by 2%, the first two options would result in a reduction in local police funding, whilst support for a 2% increase  would enable me to maintain police funding. Government stipulates that any increase above 2% in Cheshire would require a countywide referendum which would incur considerable costs in the region of £1 million to the public purse. Similarly any reduction in the precept would result in considerable cuts to local police funding – as your Commissioner this is not something I am comfortable with.

In addition to the online survey, I am holding public roadshows in each of the four local council areas. These events allow members of the public to come and speak to me directly about what they think on police funding. I have also been promoting the conversation and receiving feedback through my social media accounts, and residents have been contacting me via e-mail and using the contact function on my website.

The survey provides a simple means for residents to provide me with their views which will be added to all the feedback received from the various channels as part of the consultation. I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to respond to date.