SIMON Roberts, chairman of the Cheshire Police Federation, has voiced his backing for the council tax rise.

He said: “I would like to add my full support to the decision made by the Cheshire Police Authority in increasing the police element of the council tax by 3.94%.

“We are only now beginning to realise the full impact of the 20% reduction in the policing budget imposed on us by this government.

“This decision means although officer numbers will continue to decrease the rate of this decrease will not be as drastic.

“This decision is not about a short-term fix for 12 months but about trying to safeguard policing in Cheshire for the years to come.

“I am personally aware of the political pressure placed on this police authority to accept a freeze on council tax and accept the one-year grant.

“It pleases me they have resisted this temptation and made the more difficult but correct decision.

“We face uncertain times ahead with this police authority being replaced by a police commissioner.

“I hope this person, whoever it may be, shows the same political independence as this police authority has in the future and does not look for the often easier short-term fix.”