PARISH councillors in Great Boughton have given the idea of increasing Council Tax to boost policing a lukewarm reception.
Members expressed concerns about lack of policing because local Community Action Team (CAT) officer Mark Hughes has transferred to Blacon.
His replacement, Darren Franks, has yet to start patrols because of a knee injury, meaning Great Boughton and Vicars Cross have been without cover for four weeks.
However, the parish council expressed severe reservations about proposals by Chief Constable Peter Fahy for it to help pay for a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).
Mr Fahy wrote to all parish councils asking if they could pay 35% towards the cost of employing a PCSO - equivalent to £11,000 a year on the parish precept. The Home Office would pay the other 65%.
The police say a 266% rise in crime across the county since 1980 has been accompanied by just a 13.5% increase in resources.
A PCSO would conduct high visibility foot patrols in the parish with powers to issue parking and littering tickets, seize pedal cycles and alcohol, and gather evidence needed to secure Anti-Social Behaviour Contracts and Orders.
But Cllr Paul Cheetham, a former police officer covered the area, said: 'We pay tax to the police as it is. We do not get a good service so I don't see why we should pay any more money out.
'I've said before that if you see a policeman in Vicars Cross he must be lost.'
Cllr Graham Proctor said the planned merger between Cheshire Police and Merseyside Police was another reason to be wary of the idea.
He feared resources could flow to Merseyside at the expense of parishes like Great Boughton having their own dedicated beat bobbies.
Insp Rob Woodward, of the Chester Outer Sector, said: 'PC Franks is now raring to go, but I can understand the council's concerns.
'We have specific officers for specific beats but they can't be there all the time.
'There are Targeted Patrol Teams who work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing an emergency response and they drive through areas like Great Boughton, supplemented by council wardens.
'Just because people cannot see officers it does not mean they do not exist.'
Should parishes pay toward improved policing? Telephone: 01244 606424/5 Fax: 01244 606498 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org