COUNCIL Tax payers are being asked to pay an extra 50p a week for improved policing in South Cheshire.
That's how much Cheshire Constabulary says the average Band D tax would have to rise by in order for it to make 'significant improvements' to the service next year.
Police chiefs say a 3.25% rise in funding for the police announced by the Home Office next year would still leave a shortfall of 25p per week for the average Band D tax payer to pay just to maintain the status quo. And they are pushing for an increase of double that to pay for greater improvements.
About 20% of funding for the police force comes from local tax payers and Cheshire has the third lowest rate of Council Tax for policing in the country.
A spokesman said: 'It is currently estimated that, after taking into account the rise from central government, Council Tax will need to rise by 14% - 25p per week for a Band D household - to maintain the current budget.
'This will still be inadequate to meet all of the costs of new legislation and changes we would wish to make to improve the delivery of policing services.'
Police say the number of officers has grown significantly in recent years. These recruits are starting to come out of training and appear on the streets.
Police also say they have seen excellent results from money that has been put into fingerprinting, DNA testing and forensic science. Senior officers want to see these improvements continue, particularly through getting officers away from their desks.
Chief constable Peter Fahy said: 'The first priority for next year is not necessarily more police officers, but more investment in front-line police support staff to free officers from administrative tasks and to improve customer service.' Crewe county councillor Peter Nurse, chairman of the Cheshire Police Authority, said: 'We have to ask the people of Cheshire whether they are prepared to make further investments so that we can make further reductions in crime and see more officers impacting on the level of anti-social behaviour and incivility in our town centres, villages and estates.'
Mr Nurse added: 'For about 50p per week for the average Council Tax payer we can make significant further improvements to policing in Cheshire to enable the Chief Constable and his officers to give the public what they are crying out for.'