Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, has launched his budget survey today (Tuesday, 4th January).
Residents are being asked to give their views on proposals to increase the police precept – the part of council tax that goes towards Cheshire Constabulary by 4.4% for the next financial year 2022/23.
A budget has been produced which includes recruiting an extra 120 officers alongside 63 more front line staff in areas like the call centre, as well as schemes to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB), and road safety initiatives.
John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said: "I believe this budget represents what residents of Cheshire have told me they want. More officers, better call response times, and an increased focus on tackling ASB and making our roads safer.
"This budget will build on the work done since I took office in May, where nearly £4 million in extra funding has been brought in to prevent and tackle crime in our county, and in that time the Chief Constable and I have also been able to commit to taking our officer numbers to the highest level in modern times – 2,345. This should give people confidence in our Constabulary to deliver the priorities set out in my Police and Crime Plan."
In order to support this investment, the Commissioner is asking local people if they would be willing to pay approximately 83p per month extra via the police precept, for the average band D household.
John Dwyer added: "We are benefiting from increased funding from central government and the national Police Officer Uplift programme, however in my Autumn Survey I was up front with people – I said a small precept rise would be necessary in order to keep the police at a standstill – And over 85% of people who expressed a view said they were happy to pay more above this in order for the Constabulary to have more resources.
"The most popular option by some way was an increase in the police precept of 20p per week above standstill – Equivalent to £1.04 per month - However I am ultimately asking residents for less than this.
"This is because I am extremely conscious of the cost of living, and the fact that residents gave a diverse range of views. I am also aware that asking for support to raise the precept even further would require me to hold a referendum, which I do not believe would be a valuable use of people's hard-earned money."
In addition to the online survey, the Commissioner will be holding a series of 'Consultation Roadshow' events around the county throughout January where people can speak to him directly and take the survey in person.
The online 'Commissioner and Chief Constable's Question Time' event for residents of Cheshire East will be held on Monday 10th January from 7 – 8:30pm.
To register for the local online event, send your name, question and postcode to [email protected] by 11:59pm the day before the event.
John Dwyer added: "I want to hear from as many people as possible, which is why I'm committed to getting out there to let people know how their police service will deliver on their priorities.
"Put simply: This budget will enable me and the Chief Constable to put more police on the streets and invest in the areas that matter to you. I encourage everyone to have their say."
To take the Commissioner's survey online, go to www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/yourpolicebudget2022-23 and complete it by midday on Tuesday 25th January.
To request a hard copy of the survey, email [email protected]