Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer is asking people across Cheshire about their policing priorities for the coming year and the police precept – the part of Council Tax that funds Cheshire Constabulary.
You can complete the survey at: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/policebudget202324
More than 40% of Cheshire Constabulary’s funding came from Council Tax in 2022/23. This key part of the police budget has enabled the Constabulary to make several improvements in areas most important to the public, including:
- Recruiting more call handlers and more than halving 101 average waiting times, from over 17 minutes in Summer 2021 to around five and a half minutes now.
- Cutting the average time it takes to attend emergencies to less than 10 minutes and reducing the average attendance time for prompt non-emergencies by a third.
- Increasing the number of arrests made by 35% over the past year.
- Maintaining the 122 community policing model, where each of Cheshire’s communities is allocated its own dedicated police team.
Police and Crime Commissioner, John Dwyer, said:
“It’s through the public’s support via the police precept that we’ve been able to make Cheshire even safer over the past year and improve in a number of key areas.
“I want the Constabulary to be able to maintain these improvements and that’s why I’m launching this survey. I need people’s feedback on what they want our police service to focus on in 2023/24 and what level the police precept should be set at to be able to achieve this.”
Government funding for Cheshire Constabulary is set to increase, however inflation has seen nearly £14 million added to the cost of policing. As families and businesses have had to look at their own budgets in the current climate, the police have been doing the same and £6.7 million has been identified through savings and reserves to close the gap, however there is still a shortfall.
To find extra funding for policing, Commissioners can increase the police precept by £15 per year – £1.25 per month – for a Band D Council Tax property, without the need to hold a referendum. Nearly two thirds of Cheshire properties fall into Bands A-C, meaning most households would pay less, and at 6.4% across all Bands an increase of this amount would fall below the current rate of inflation.
John Dwyer added:
“Increasing the precept by 6.4% – below inflation – would allow the Constabulary to meet this funding gap and maintain the improved level of service we have seen. The Chief Constable and I have focused relentlessly on the areas that matter most to people and things are moving in the right direction.
“However, setting the police precept is a responsibility I do not take lightly. I know that the cost of living is affecting people and public services in different ways and that’s why I’ve provided a number of options in the survey. It’s vital that I get the views of people right across Cheshire so please do have your say.”
Answers to frequently asked questions about the police budget and survey are available at: www.cheshire-pcc.gov.uk/what-the-commissioner-does/setting-the-police-budget/budget-2023-24
The survey will close at midday on Tuesday 24 January. Have your say at: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/policebudget202324
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(Cheshire Constabulary, Digital Media Officer, Cheshire)