Senior Cheshire police officers believe they do not receive enough funding from taxpayers compared to neighbouring counties. Now they are evangelising their case at meetings around the county to persuade Council Tax-payers to find an extra £3-a-month to tackle crime and disorder – and prevent job losses and cuts in vital services
Assistant Chief Constable David Baines says an extra £35-a-year on top of a capped 5% increase in the Council Tax precept will give Cheshire the “police force it deserves”.
The force’s funding crisis comes after a year when Cheshire police jumped up the performance league tables – cutting crime by 7%, criminal damage by 10% and more than 27,000 people arrested.
Mr Baines says that the burden of tackling serious crime, anti- terrorism responsibilities, hugely increased costs for doctors and interpreters called to police stations, is forcing reductions in important services.
Cheshire taxpayers (band D) pay £9.66 a month for their police force, compared to neighbouring force West Mercia (£13.13), Staffordshire (£13.35) and North Wales (£14.85).
Chief constable Peter Fahy believes the demands placed upon Cheshire Constabulary are such that a traditionally low Council Tax precept needs to be raised to tackle 21st century criminality.
He said: “Cheshire has the lowest Council Tax precept of all of the shire forces in the country.
“We have tried hard to keep the precept down for seven years but all that has happened is the gap between our force and others has grown.
“A band D property in Cheshire pays £116 where in North Wales the same property would pay £178.
“We have tried hard to increase efficiency within the police force with major success. It is predicted this year we will see a 13% reduction in crime but we want to better that.
“There are still 80,000 crimes being committed in Cheshire and that is not acceptable, but in order to improve we need more than a 5% rise in the precept.”