Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner David Keane is thanking Cheshire residents for taking part in his police budget consultation in unprecedented levels.
Feedback to the consultation is at its highest level since Mr Keane’s appointment in May 2016, with more than two thirds of the 1,909 respondents supporting a small increase to the policing precept to reinvest in neighbourhood policing.
Residents and businesses across Cheshire were asked to complete a survey to give their views on 2019/20’s precept ahead of the commissioner setting the constabulary’s budget. 67 per cent supported an average of a £2 per month rise to the policing precept in council tax payments.
The commissioner led the consultation over recent weeks, visiting key local hubs across the county to gauge the views of residents and businesses face-to-face.
It’s after the government announced police forces nationally would receive extra funding to cover unavoidable pressures on policing but built a fixed council tax increase into the equation.
David said: “Thank you to everyone who took the time to give their views. Although I still believe policing should be fully funded by central government, it is comforting to see that the majority of local residents and businesses recognise the benefits of having a police service which is adequately funded.
“Of the small amount of residents who did not support an increase to the precept, many suggested that central government who should have provided adequate funding in the first place.
“Without the extra funding, Cheshire Police would be unable to cover existing costs and would be forced to significantly cut frontline police officers. The public can be assured that every pound of this funding will go towards ensuring communities in Cheshire remain some of the safest nationally.”
The funding will be used to recruit extra frontline police officers across Cheshire and to invest in resources to tackle complex crimes such as cybercrime, child sexual exploitation and domestic abuse.
“Many of the residents I spoke to said they want increased police visibility in their communities. Some residents told me they had not seen a traditional ‘bobby on the beat’ in years. We’ve lost 135 officers since 2010 but this budget will help us start to address some of adverse effects austerity has had on police numbers.
“I will now spend time reviewing all of the feedback before presenting it to the police and crime panel”, added David.
The commissioner will present the Cheshire Constabulary budget for 2019/20 at the Police and Crime Panel meeting on Friday 8 February.