Police & Crime Commissioner says majority support 5% increase in police precept


Cheshire Police & Crime Commissioner says members of the public have given a clear indication of their opinion on the policing precept.

David Keane says a public consultation on Cheshire's police precept – launched to help gauge people's views ahead of a full budget consultation which will commence later this month and run throughout January – has given a strong indication that the public of Cheshire is potentially supportive of an increase in the precept to help protect frontline policing.

The Commissioner has been calling on communities to answer a key question on how future funding required to protect frontline officers and deliver on their policing priorities should be paid for.

David said "Over 72% of respondents have said they would be supportive of paying a higher precept of around 18p per week should it be necessary to protect front-line policing.

"When I was given the honour of being elected, I said I would listen to the communities we serve. I would listen to their concerns. I would listen to their priorities. I would ask them the important questions around the future of the force. And I would act on it.

"The debate around police funding is so critically important to the future of the force, so it's important that we have an open and honest debate about the options. Put simply, without a fair funding settlement, we either cut back on officers – the front line neighbourhood presence which people tell me is important to them – or we look at ways, through the precept, to help maintain services and officer numbers."

The Commissioner consulted on a precept rise of "up to five per cent" – equivalent to 18p per week for the average home – as part of the Cheshire-wide discussion to enable the Constabulary to maintain officer numbers at their current level. Otherwise David Keane said up to 80 officer posts could be cut.

The precept debate has prompted feedback from some quarters of the community about the cost of the Police & Crime Commissioner's office, something David Keane has confirmed he'd be happy to address.

He said "When I came in as Commissioner, one of the first things I addressed were the costs of this office. They were too high. So, I streamlined my team, I got rid of the company cars and I moved our office to a new lower cost location. Our costs are now the second lowest of any Police and Crime Commissioner office in the country.

"Up and down the country PCCs act as the voice of the people and hold the police to account," David added. "We are responsible for the totality of policing. At a total cost of less than 0.4% of the overall policing budget in Cheshire, I feel that this is a very small price to pay for the impact we have on delivering a high quality police force."

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% since 2010 and a real terms cut of 37%. The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner says it has done its bit too by reducing its spend by 37% (around £400,000) – which equates to a third of the previous Commissioners budget.

A flat cash settlement from the Government could mean that, over the next three years, Cheshire Police will need to find further savings of more than £13 million - around £4million in 2018/19, £5million in 2019/20 and a further £4million in 2020/21.

The full consultation on the police budget will take place between Thursday, 21st December 2017 and Wednesday, 24th January 2018 following the Government announcing budget settlement for Cheshire just before Christmas.

Cheshire Police & Crime Commissioner, Council Tax, David Keane


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

Roger Bagguley
Monday 18th December 2017 at 5:33 pm
We should not be surprised 72% of respondents support an increase in precept that will increase the number of officers on the front line. But no % of people questioning the value of having a Police Commissioner plus the job creation this office brings. 0.4% of a big budget amounts to a lot of money that would afford more officers on the beat.
Nick Jones
Monday 18th December 2017 at 8:26 pm
... and 72 % of all statistics are fabricated to suit the purpose.... !

If Keane Got rid of His Deputy, Chief of Staff, PA, Butler, Chauffeur, Closed Stockton Heath he may have enough to fund 1 unnecessary position.. Joke ! an expensive one at that!.
Fred Rayers
Monday 18th December 2017 at 8:34 pm
How many respondents, who was invited to answer the questionnaire, and what was the question?
Julian Barlow
Tuesday 19th December 2017 at 9:20 am
When it comes to public services, adequacy is always just another tax payer £ away.
Manuel Golding
Tuesday 19th December 2017 at 11:21 am
As with most "public consultations", they are designed to give the answer required by the consulter or he who pays the bill..... So what is Keane trying to prove?
If he truly wishes to enhance Cheshire Constabulary he would ditch his little empire building strategy, get rid of his minions & return himself to police h/q - that latter act alone would save £000s of tax payers' money.
By the way, I've no recollection of seeing a survey form.
Jonathan Follows
Tuesday 19th December 2017 at 11:53 am
It isn't hard to find; however I certainly wouldn't have looked without the prompt of this artiicle: http://bit.ly/2D4GqLC

Dated 7/12/17: "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 31st 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."

I don't personally support this 5% increase in precept either.
Terry Roeves
Tuesday 19th December 2017 at 12:50 pm
Nothing that is written here will alter the outcome. However, it will be claimed, like CEC re Local Plan, that ‘we have listened’.
One day, it would be nice to see police in Wilmslow. Do we have an beat Bobbies any more? A one page summary of our police station resources and job rolls would clarify matters.
Until it’s clear how our money is spent, they don’t deserve a penny.
Pete Taylor
Tuesday 19th December 2017 at 4:15 pm
18 Pence? I would be happy to pay double that- on the proviso that the PCC empire was shut down. I want my tax to go to frontline services; I don’t want to pay for useless empire-builders.
David Hoyle
Tuesday 19th December 2017 at 4:34 pm
What does his staff do all day
Dave Cash
Wednesday 20th December 2017 at 12:00 am
The Home Office has just allowed PCCs to raise the Police precept up to max £12 pa for each household. Our PCCs suggestion of 18p/wk is below HO max of ~23p/wk.
On Mon, WTC agreed not to increase their Precept next year.
Peter Evans
Wednesday 20th December 2017 at 6:18 am
You have to give it to him - Dave Keane does seem to be quite clever, he has learnt all the tricks of being a "successful" local "politician"... who knew to look for this questionnaire? We now see a cleverly worded question to get the outcome wanted; how many people responded (if in double figures it would more than voted for Keane)... I agree with previous comments: get rid of his little empire (little in terms of mentality/impact, not cost) - 0.4% (though I expect that figure has been cleverly massaged) reduced would mean a significant reduction in the additional amount he wants to charge us through the concept. Key point - I totally support more efficient and great policing and support funding an efficient service (but not just more money to fund inefficiencies). I am not aware of a single improvement Keane and his merry team have yielded - though I was mega impressed with the police who responded to a recent attempted break in at my house.
Julie Lowe
Wednesday 20th December 2017 at 12:04 pm
How many respondents were there?
Barry Buxton
Wednesday 20th December 2017 at 4:42 pm
72% of s*d all is still s*d all. The "consultation" questionnaire was a pathetic disgrace.
Alan Brough
Wednesday 20th December 2017 at 5:27 pm
Amidst all of his self-congratulatory rhetoric about the "efficiencies" he has introduced since being shoe-horned in to office, Mr Keane neglects to inform us how much longer (and at what cost) the suspension of Cheshire's Chief Constable will last.

Whilst I share the same irritation at Mr Keanes manipulation of his survey figures, I am more concerned by his manipulation of our Police Services.

He and his PCC colleagues divert a very significant amount of Taxpayers money that could be much better utilised in restoring front line Policing.
James MacDonald
Wednesday 20th December 2017 at 8:02 pm
In another survey, 100% of respondents indicated that David Keane should resign with no golden handshake or bonus.
Vic Barlow
Wednesday 20th December 2017 at 8:50 pm
Let us remember that following Mr Keane's plea last year to agree to a 3 % increase 'to enable 19 constables to remain on patrol' his first act on getting public approval was to employ two assistants to do his job for him at a Joint cost of £135K.

His first appointment was a Labour councillor who refused to produce her CV and was described by the monitoring panel as 'barely meeting the minimum requirements.'

Mr Keane's second appointment failed to get the backing of the monitoring panel completely.

There is a whiff of Derek Hatton about Mr Keane's style.
Thursday 21st December 2017 at 9:05 am
Vic - you have forgotten to mention that for a recent meeting of the Police and Crime Panel Mr Keane was poorly and unable to attend, but his Office had no one to send in his place, - despite being asked. So as far as I can see that £135,000 is spent on people sitting on their backsides, or having their photos taken - typically in Warrington, Halton or Wirral.
Alan Brough
Thursday 21st December 2017 at 5:30 pm
Vic also forgets to add that the Labour Councillor, selected for the role of Deputy PCC, who was widely regarded as wholly unsuitable for the position, was a friend of the family.
Peter Evans
Thursday 21st December 2017 at 8:33 pm
18 comments; 1 direction. 100%. Public opinion pretty obvious. Mr Keane, read this, take note and do the decent thing (however, I have no expectation you will as you are too thick skinned to give a toss).