Would you pay more for police?

Deputy police and crime commissioner Chris Webb talks to shopper Arnold Sumner with Police Sgt Jennifer Bradshaw
Deputy police and crime commissioner Chris Webb talks to shopper Arnold Sumner with Police Sgt Jennifer Bradshaw

Fylde shoppers were asked for their views on the future of policing as part of a county-wide survey being carried out by the Lancashire’s police and crime commissioner’s office.

Prime among the questions from commissioner Clive Grunshaw is whether residents would be happy to pay a little extra in council tax – 46p a week for a Band D household – to help fund the force.

Mr Grunshaw’s recently-appointed deputy Chris Webb hosted yesterday’s survey session at Sainsbury’s supermarket in St Annes and said the response from the public so far had been very positive.

“The message that is coming across is that people don’t mind paying that little bit extra, which works out at the cost of an extra pint of milk a week, to ensure they have the policing they feel is necessary,” said Mr Webb.

“It’s important that we get out and about and ask the people what they think.”

The precept survey being handed out at St Annes and the other public sessions asks people to give a high, medium or low priority rating to policing topics such as roads traffic policing, taking early action to prevent crimes, patrolling areas with regular and low levels of reported crime and tackling domestic abuse and violence.

Among the local residents to speak to Mr Webb at the Sainsbury’s session was Phil Alexandrou from St Annes, who was seeking assurances over how it would be used.

“No-one really wants to have to pay extra but if that is the case, it needs to be used wisely,” he said.

“I feel it is important that the priority is more about police work and less about social support.

“More and more these days it seems the police are being used to prop up other services.”

John McKenzie, from Ansdell, said: “The Government has made hefty cuts to council budgets and the money to pay for policing has to be found in other ways.

“I don’t mind paying a little extra but it’s not that straightforward for some.”