ST HELENS residents will have their chance to question the Merseyside police commissioner Jane Kennedy on how the force is funded in the face of continued cuts.
She be attending a road show at Asda on Kirkland Street between 11.30am and 1pm this Thursday (January 30) to gauge people’s opinion on proposals for a 1.95 per cent increase in the police precept through the council tax.
It is one of a series of events across Merseyside which will see more than 1,200 officers PCOs and staff lost by the end of 2014/15.
Merseyside Police also needs to slash its budget by a further £13.5m in the next financial year with a predicted additional £17m in 2015/16.
The commissioner is planning to use around £5.5m from reserves to reduce the impact of the cuts, but she says that without asking people to pay more it will be impossible to fully protect valuable frontline police services.
She explained: “Due to the persistently unfair funding cuts that have been inflicted upon Merseyside Police by the Government, I need to increase the amount of council tax collected in the region to minimise the impact of these savage cuts on vital frontline policing services.
“I know times are extremely challenging for people on Merseyside at the moment and every penny counts, but this increase is essential if the Chief Constable is to keep enough officers on the streets of Merseyside to protect the public.
“Without raising additional money from the Council Tax precept, cuts to both officer numbers and the services would be inevitable.”
The proposed increase would work out as just 4p a week or £2 a year for a Band A property, increasing the cost from £102.42 to £104.42. For a Band D property it would mean an additional £3 a year.
The six community events, one in each Force Basic Command Unit, will ask people if they agree with the proposed increase to protect their police service.
She added: “Asking people to pay more is an action that is being forced upon me by the Government, but it is a wholly necessary step if I am to relieve the pressure on frontline policing and maintain the high level of service which the Force prides itself on.
“My priority is to balance the needs of families across Merseyside with the needs of protecting our police service.
“The Chief Constable and I are committed to putting the public first as we continue to keep Merseyside safe.”