Police commissioner offers more officers on beat
CUMBRIA’S police and crime commissioner, Peter McCall, wants to boost the number of police officers visible and present in local communities and is asking for an additional £1 a month to do so.
This week, the commissioner launched a public consultation asking for views on increasing council tax for a Band D property by nearly £12 a year. In Cumbria, the largest number of properties fall into Band B, which would pay an additional 78p council tax a month.
This is in line with the Government allowing police and crime commissioners greater flexibility to increase council tax levels to help improve the service the police provide. Mr. McCall said: “I have a difficult choice to make. I know that increasing council tax is never popular, but your safety and security are more important to me. My commitment to you is to secure an effective policing service and to ‘keep you safe’.
“It is clear to me that combating crime and addressing your local concerns, such as anti-social behaviour, is becoming even more complex. In addition, rising demand and emerging threats such as terrorism and online-crime are increasingly stretching the force’s resources.
“None of us likes to pay more but I believe that the right thing to do is to invest now in front-line policing for Cumbria. However, I have to balance this against the impact on hard pressed household budgets.
“After careful consideration and on the recommendation of the chief constable, I am proposing to raise the council tax for a Band D property by £1 a month. I believe that if you are to pay more, it is only fair to ensure that the police deliver an improved service in return.”
He said the increased council tax would contribute to funding:
25 additional police officers “visible and present in your local community tackling the issues that are important to you including antisocial behaviour and road safety”.
95 PCSOs, guaranteeing the delivery of a strong proactive visible presence in communities.
An increase in the number of armed officers available to protect and respond to any potential terror threat or dangerous individuals in Cumbria.
Improved protection of children from abuse, especially on-line grooming and exploitation and greater protection for all from new digital crime trends such as on-line crime and fraud.
Easier and better ways to contact the police.
Mr. McCall said: “Through this consultation I am seeking your support and asking that we together make a really important contribution to protect you and above all to keep us all safe.”
Chief Constable Jerry Graham said: “I have always stated that an independent police force is the best way to keep Cumbria safe, and I remain convinced that this is still the case. This is a key opportunity to secure our future, providing dedicated policing services for the people of Cumbria.
“I would like the force to be in the strongest possible position to protect Cumbria. I am confident that this extra money will support the future of policing services in Cumbria. Without the additional funding the current police service may face further reductions.
“I understand that we are asking for more money at a time when many people’s personal budgets are already stretched, particularly after Christmas, and it is not a request I am making lightly.
“However, this relatively small amount of money will have a significant impact on the quality of local policing services we can offer in your communities.”
The consultation can be found at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/PCCsurvey.
Alternatively, a paper copy can be obtained by calling 01768 217734, or e-mailing commissionercumbria-pcc.gov.uk. The consultation closes on 19th January.