David Keane the police and crime commissioner for Cheshire is urging residents to join the 'discussion on police funding. We have until Jan 24th to express our views on providing more funding via the police precept.
According to Mr Keane a one percent increase would mean a reduction in policing service and be equivalent to 13 fewer police while no increase would be the equivalent to 26 less officers.
A two per cent increase in police precept would mean investment in areas of policing residents said were important.
Not much of a choice is it? Give us more money or else and the 'or else' is always expressed as a reduction in police officers. It's the common unit of currency when asking for budget increases. Why?
Simply because the police commissioner knows it is the one thing the public do not want to see. It's the most potent threat.
Public services do that. Give us more money or face losing the most valued part of the service. There is an automatic assumption in the public sector that funding must grow every year to maintain services. It's beyond their comprehension that services may be improved on smaller budgets.
In the private sector competition prevents such assumptions and a product or service sold at a premium price may suddenly generate far less revenue. The Internet has transformed the way we work and the way we buy products and services. Companies have to adapt to the market.
In the public sector the market is expected to adapt to them. Demanding more for the same service only works in a monopoly situation.
Becoming smarter, more efficient, reviewing 'sick' leave, duplication and management performance is rarely at the top of the list of budget cut-backs.
Cheshire East regard increasing council tax as 'cost saving' while senior management at Cheshire Police believed sending police officers from Wilmslow over to Macclesfield to start their shift was efficient.
Can you imagine Tesco increasing all their prices to reduce costs? Sounds daft doesn't it? That's because it is and only the lack of competition in the public sector that enables them to view it otherwise.
Personally, I think Cheshire Police are doing a pretty good job, certainly far better than they did before community policing came back into fashion but before they talk about reducing officers they would do well to examine their internal inefficiencies starting at the top.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of wilmslow.co.uk.