Plans to increase the police portion of council tax by two per cent look set to be approved - after residents supported the proposals of Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Clive Grunshaw will tell a Police and Crime Panel meeting today that 74 per cent of the county’s residents are prepared to see their council tax rise following telephone surveys and roadshows.
The commissioner wants to raise the police council tax precept by 1.99 per cent – a figure he says will bring an extra £1.2m a year into Lancashire.
Mr Grunshaw said: “I have had a clear message from residents that they are worried about future reductions in service.
“They fear reduced police visibility and presence, reduced numbers of officers and PCSOs and that crime and anti-social behaviour will increase.
“And they have showed their support for the police by indicating they would be willing to pay an extra two per cent or more for policing.
“In fact, the majority of people questioned actually said they would support a rise of five per cent, if the Government allowed me to increase the precept by that much.”
A programme of £20.5m of savings – announced by the commissioner and chief constable in September – is being implemented over the next four years while the commissioner still has to identify where another £19.7m of savings will come from before 2017/18.
Despite the cuts, Mr Grunshaw will have £3.1m to invest into policing this year.
The commissioner’s plans sparked a war of words with Coun Peter Gibson, the leader of Wyre Council, who tabled a Notice of Motion at a council meeting which stated the council viewed the increase with “dismay” as there was a police underspend of £5.6m in 2012/13 and the commissioner was “emphatic” he would not be filling 74 empty PCSO posts.
Mr Grunshaw hit back and said Coun Gibson’s group had not seen any of the evidence in support of his decision.
The commissioner added: “I know residents want increased visibility on the frontline – I can’t guarantee more police officers or PCSOs, but what I can do is invest this money into measures which will increase productivity and visibility.”
The budget will be discussed at the Police and Crime Panel meeting at Blackburn Town Hall at 10am on today.