Public backs call for increase in council tax to protect police services

St Helens Star: Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy, right, with Sergeant Neil Birkett and shoppers at Asda seeking their views on increasing the police precept Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy, right, with Sergeant Neil Birkett and shoppers at Asda seeking their views on increasing the police precept

TASKED with maintaining an effective police force in the face of continuing cuts to the budget, Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy is looking to increase council tax to help cover the costs.

Speaking at an event at Asda in St Helens, she asked people if they were prepared to pay a 1.95 per cent increase in the police precept through the council tax.

The majority of people she stopped agreed with the proposals, saying the police did a good job with dwindling resources, however many believed they already paid enough through tax.

She said: “What the force has done is to ask each commander to review services and see how we can continue to deliver good policing services but with fewer people.

“What I’m afraid you will see is 18 fewer PCOs because the council is not able to fund them. They used to give a subsidy to pay for them and now we have lost that.

“The force is determined to relentlessly pursue criminals and work hard with St Helens Council to keep the community safe.

“We are safe compared to other urban areas. St Helens remains a good place to live, have a home and do business.

“The force is committed to do all it can to work with the council to make sure we keep it so.”

James Kays from Eccleston said he doesn’t mind paying more for police.

He said: “When you consider all the charges for gas, water rates, bedroom tax and electricity are going up, the police are doing a good job.”

Merseyside Police’s main grant from the government has been cut by 4.8 per cent this year, which is around £12 million. It is estimated that by 2018 the police force will have had to make total savings of more than £110 million since austerity measures began in 2010.

Mrs Kennedy is planning to use around £5 million from reserves to reduce the impact of the cuts, but says without asking people to pay more it will be impossible to fully protect frontline police services.

The proposed increase would amount to 4p a week or £2 a year for a band A household or £3 for band D. The majority of homes on Merseyside fall into the band A category.

Following similar events across Merseyside three-quarters of those who responded supported her proposals.

More than 2,000 people took part in the consultation, with 25 per cent saying they weren’t prepared to pay more.

Jane Kennedy said: “This consultation demonstrates beyond doubt that people on Merseyside are prepared to play their part to protect their neighbourhoods.

“This increase in the police precept is essential if I am to protect frontline police services. Without raising additional money from the public further cuts to police officer numbers and services would be inevitable.”

Comments (8)

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12:32am Fri 7 Feb 14

anthonywilson says...

If she packed her very well paid non-job in, there would be more money to fund more Police Officers and PCSO's. The Police in the UK should have never have been politicised in this way through the concept of Police Crime Commissioners. I'm not sure how accurate the article is either as I was talking to a new Merseyside PCSO recruit earlier today who has been assigned to work in St Helens! We know that the Police services have had some serious cuts which will have undoubtedly affected the ability of the Police to reduce crime and catch the criminals. However, if the Council Tax increase is increased how many more families will struggle to pay any extra? We won't have a choice. Many people are at financial breaking point as it is and the phrase trying getting blood out of a stone comes to mind. I wish I could get £85k a year for doing surveys in the local Asda.
If she packed her very well paid non-job in, there would be more money to fund more Police Officers and PCSO's. The Police in the UK should have never have been politicised in this way through the concept of Police Crime Commissioners. I'm not sure how accurate the article is either as I was talking to a new Merseyside PCSO recruit earlier today who has been assigned to work in St Helens! We know that the Police services have had some serious cuts which will have undoubtedly affected the ability of the Police to reduce crime and catch the criminals. However, if the Council Tax increase is increased how many more families will struggle to pay any extra? We won't have a choice. Many people are at financial breaking point as it is and the phrase trying getting blood out of a stone comes to mind. I wish I could get £85k a year for doing surveys in the local Asda. anthonywilson

5:14am Fri 7 Feb 14

EpicConcern says...

Asda shoppers are hardly 'the public' she needs to get her backside to the poundshops and discount stores if she wants to really gauge the public's opinion.
Do we really need more Police to waste time cracking down on home gardeners instead of real criminals?
Asda shoppers are hardly 'the public' she needs to get her backside to the poundshops and discount stores if she wants to really gauge the public's opinion. Do we really need more Police to waste time cracking down on home gardeners instead of real criminals? EpicConcern

9:18am Fri 7 Feb 14

barrie timpson says...

More laughable propaganda from Local labour and it's best chum the star. Nobody wants a council tax increase.
And were the people in ASDA aware that there is a loan available from the government to enable us to not have a council tax rise??
Or that there is sufficient money in the bank to buffer the cuts.
There was an article in The Guardian recently telling how Labour councils are purposefully mismanaging the cuts for political gain.
More laughable propaganda from Local labour and it's best chum the star. Nobody wants a council tax increase. And were the people in ASDA aware that there is a loan available from the government to enable us to not have a council tax rise?? Or that there is sufficient money in the bank to buffer the cuts. There was an article in The Guardian recently telling how Labour councils are purposefully mismanaging the cuts for political gain. barrie timpson

1:41pm Fri 7 Feb 14

MrBenggo says...

The police are no use where I live,report youths doing criminal damage and they don't turn up,twice,so why do I want to pay more for the same service.
The police are no use where I live,report youths doing criminal damage and they don't turn up,twice,so why do I want to pay more for the same service. MrBenggo

7:13pm Fri 7 Feb 14

jumperr says...

It's like the housing associations, we always go round our estates so they say,they should check that none have been lost.
It's like the housing associations, we always go round our estates so they say,they should check that none have been lost. jumperr

1:09am Sat 8 Feb 14

Keva68 says...

The PCOs are not worth having any way no powers no point.
The police have no visible deterrent and only appear after a crime has been committed.
The majority surveyed said they feel they are already paying enough tax yet the only quote is from someone who supports a council tax rise.
The PCOs are not worth having any way no powers no point. The police have no visible deterrent and only appear after a crime has been committed. The majority surveyed said they feel they are already paying enough tax yet the only quote is from someone who supports a council tax rise. Keva68

9:26am Sat 8 Feb 14

smith&weston says...

barrie timpson wrote:
More laughable propaganda from Local labour and it's best chum the star. Nobody wants a council tax increase.
And were the people in ASDA aware that there is a loan available from the government to enable us to not have a council tax rise??
Or that there is sufficient money in the bank to buffer the cuts.
There was an article in The Guardian recently telling how Labour councils are purposefully mismanaging the cuts for political gain.
Here Here. This council is sitting on reserves of millions of pounds whilst pleading povery and refusing to touch grants that are available because they are being offered by a non Labour govt. Istead, they will be increasing the council tax and all it's little add on's, I.e Merseyside transport precept, fire brigade precept, parish council contribution. Who needs a parish council in this day and age.?
[quote][p][bold]barrie timpson[/bold] wrote: More laughable propaganda from Local labour and it's best chum the star. Nobody wants a council tax increase. And were the people in ASDA aware that there is a loan available from the government to enable us to not have a council tax rise?? Or that there is sufficient money in the bank to buffer the cuts. There was an article in The Guardian recently telling how Labour councils are purposefully mismanaging the cuts for political gain.[/p][/quote]Here Here. This council is sitting on reserves of millions of pounds whilst pleading povery and refusing to touch grants that are available because they are being offered by a non Labour govt. Istead, they will be increasing the council tax and all it's little add on's, I.e Merseyside transport precept, fire brigade precept, parish council contribution. Who needs a parish council in this day and age.? smith&weston

1:56pm Thu 13 Feb 14

Sankey says...

Typical labour spin no doubt they need the extra council tax to bolster the almost £100m of reserves while deliberately targeting public services front line and blaming Tory cuts. But still we vote them in !

King Herod would be voted in round here provided he had a labour rosette on.
Typical labour spin no doubt they need the extra council tax to bolster the almost £100m of reserves while deliberately targeting public services front line and blaming Tory cuts. But still we vote them in ! King Herod would be voted in round here provided he had a labour rosette on. Sankey

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