Residents asked if they'd support 5% increase in police precept


Cheshire residents are being asked if they would be happy to accept an increase in the police precept (which is one component of homeowners' annual council tax bills, which also include local authority, fire and parish council tax) in order to retain 80 officers or PCSOs.

Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, David Keane, is calling on the communities of Cheshire to have their say on the future of the force, as the region gears up for a potentially 'woeful' flat cash settlement from the Government.

Although the provisional settlement for Cheshire's police force for 2018/19 and beyond won't be known until later this month, the Police & Crime Commissioner has a statutory duty to consult with the people of Cheshire on future funding through the police precept.

Throughout December and January, the people of Cheshire will be consulted on two potential options for the future of the force: either a reduction of some 80 frontline officers and PCSOs or increasing the funding the force receives through the precept, by around 18p per week for the average home.

David said: "When it comes to telling me their policing priorities, the people of Cheshire have spoken loudly and clearly. They want to see real neighbourhood policing; they want us to tackle new and emerging threats to our way of life; they want us to put victims first and to protect the most vulnerable members of our society; and they want us to prevent anti-social behaviour and disorder in their communities.

"They also want a police service fit-for-the-future and a service that is connected with, and accessible, to their local communities. This is something that I and everyone involved in Cheshire Police wants too. We want to be able to deliver a strong, visible and efficient force capable of managing current crime and emerging threats to our safety.

"Unfortunately if the Government does not give Cheshire Police a fair funding settlement, then, to put it bluntly, the thin blue line in our region could be stretched to breaking point and we will be forced to lose as many as 80 officers on our frontline or increase the precept."

Over the past seven years, Cheshire Constabulary has made savings of more than £60 million. Analysis by the Police & Crime Commissioners Treasurers' Society shows Cheshire Police has suffered a cash cut of 23 per cent since 2010 and a real terms cut of 37 per cent.

A flat cash settlement from the Government could mean that, over the next three years, Cheshire Police will need to find further savings of at least £13 million - around £4million in year one, £5million in year two and at least a further £4million in year three.

David said: "Combined, that's over £73million worth of savings in just over a decade, which is quite simply unsustainable. By generating savings of more than £8million every year over the last seven years, we're at a point now where more than 76 per cent of the police budget for Cheshire is spent on officer and staff pay. Added to that, we have had to fund ourselves 1 per cent of the recent 2 per cent pay award, so the financial burden is intensifying.

"The Constabulary has done an incredible job to find the savings it has by improving processes, finding efficiencies through stronger collaboration and by streamlining the estate to generate long-term savings. However, it has now exhausted nearly all of its options for efficiency savings."

Reports are suggesting that the Government is intending to release the usual cap on precept charges nationally. This would mean that, whilst putting the burden of police funding increasingly on local taxpayers, it could allow Cheshire Police to go a long way to maintaining police numbers.

David said: "Raising the precept by as much as five per cent would obviously not be an easy option. We want the Government to share the burden, not simply pass it across to local people like it seems to be doing. But it's important we gauge views on our future funding, and look at how we can continue to remain fully focused on efficiency whilst delivering on the policing priorities of the people of Cheshire, such as having a visible police presence in every ward in our communities."

Although the fate of force funding won't be known in detail until later this month, the Police & Crime Commissioner's Police Funding Consultation is required to take place in time for the budget and precept to be proposed on 31 January 2018. As a result, the consultation will take place between Thursday, 28th December 2017 and Wednesday, 24th January 2018.

People and businesses in communities across Cheshire are being invited to give an indication whether they would be prepared to support a five per cent increase in the precept, rather than the 3 per cent maximum currently allowed by Government.

Click here to access the Commissioner's survey's short consultation questionnaire.

Council Tax, David Keane


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Nick Jones
Wednesday 13th December 2017 at 4:22 pm
Is it the first of April ??.......... What planet are these half baked lunatics living on ? ... There are now value or savings from this unnecessary PCC who has built an empire at Stockton Heath, employed all his old mates at extortionate rates at CEC taxpayers expense... and now he wants more ???
Will one of the Wilmslow 4 , who are going to support the 7% Council Tax rise without any explanation now additionally explain how this can possibly be justified ?? Absolute disgrace. Words fail me !
Vic Barlow
Wednesday 13th December 2017 at 5:09 pm
Given how the previous extra precept was used on two assistants for the Crime commssioner and moving his office from police HQ nearer to his home the answer has to be a tesounding NO!
Roger Bagguley
Wednesday 13th December 2017 at 6:00 pm
Never did understand the need for Police Commissioners. Want a Chief Constable making the decisions with as many officers as are required.
Nick Gabriel
Wednesday 13th December 2017 at 6:44 pm
Why is it, that Government bodies do not have to justify increased financing ? Any other organisation has to prove their worth. Cheshire Police have failed grossly in doing so. And you think I will agree to an increase on my taxes ??? Get real people. Prove you are worth it ! So far you have not even got close to doing so, especially in light of the recent revelations of misconduct within the organisation. Talk about extracting money under false pretences..... possibly the Force will now instigate prosecuting the corrupt core within themselves ????? As if......
David Hoyle
Wednesday 13th December 2017 at 8:33 pm
Last year he asked for more money or else he would have to get rid of a number of officers.the increase went ahead and what did he do,he employed extra staff for his office at a great expense. Makes me wonder as to what his staff do all day.
Clive Cooksey
Wednesday 13th December 2017 at 9:02 pm
No No a thousand times No! Start pounding the pavements again, and shaking hands with door knockers oncemore and I might think about it. Cops ? What cops! Oh yes I saw an empty Hyundai filthy cop car outside Timpsons booth in Handforth Dean. He/she was either shopping for his/her dinner, or arresting a load of tearaways. You work it out.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 13th December 2017 at 10:57 pm
The position of PCC was a stupid idea foist upon us by disgraced former PM David Camoron. 7% of electorate involvement in these farcical elections seems to be about the norm. It's time to move on, wind it up now and go back to the previous system which seemed, more or less, to work for 200 years.
Martin Mullen
Thursday 14th December 2017 at 7:10 am
No absolutely not, no increase in precept until the PCC moves back to HQ and rids us of his expensive staff.
Dave Cash
Thursday 14th December 2017 at 4:16 pm
Hell No!
Parliament should vote to abolish all underperforming PPCs and re-direct all savings to each Constabulary.
I supported the idea of a PPC but not the resultant monstrosity of Alice in Wonderland.
Freezing C Tax for x years was welcome but the consequences were predictable IMO.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 14th December 2017 at 10:36 pm
@Dave Cash, if the consequences were predictable, how did you not see this coming? The PCC concept was stupid from the beginning; why did no one listen?
Vic Barlow
Friday 15th December 2017 at 9:55 am
So now we have a totally inept council teetering onthe brink of Special Measures asking for a 7% increase in council tax and an empire building apology for a crime commisioner asking for an extra 5% when most employees will be lucky to get 1%
Are we cometely stupid?
If so we deserve what we get.
This is a chance fir residents to show there bottle and say NO.
James MacDonald
Friday 15th December 2017 at 10:12 am
No, the very few times I have needed their assistance, they have been next to useless.
Nick Jones
Tuesday 19th December 2017 at 12:13 pm
The Population of Cheshire is approx 450,000.
72 % is approx. 324,000

So How many of the 450.00 took this poorly advertised meaningless survey on the PCC Website that to make it 1) Meaningful 2) Representative of his statistical claim