Police commissioner asks how much people will pay for policing

PUBLISHED: 07:47 10 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:42 10 January 2018

Jason Ablewhite speaks to resident Andy Frear in Huntingdon. Picture: ARCHANT

Jason Ablewhite speaks to resident Andy Frear in Huntingdon. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite wants to know how much residents are prepared to pay to fund Cambridgeshire’s police force.

He has launched an online survey giving the choice of paying an extra £1 a month - which would fund an additional 55 officers - 33p more a month to stand still or to pay no increase which, he said, would lead to cuts in officer numbers or other services.

The £1 a month charge would be the maximum increase allowable without triggering a referendum after the Government raised limits, and would bring in about £3.4 million for the force.

Police are planning a £140million budget for 2018-19.

Mr Ablewhite said: “One of my duties as police and crime commissioner is to ensure that Cambridgeshire Constabulary has the resources it needs to keep people safe.

“The constabulary is already a very efficient force with savings of £17.2 million made over the last five years to meet budget reductions. This has been achieved in a number of ways including reducing back office staff and collaborating with other forces, other emergency services and partner organisations.”

He said: “A recent review of local policing has also found savings to fund an extra 50 front line officers. However, we still need to do more to respond to an increase in demand, increase our ability to investigate crimes and deter people from criminality.

“As we look forward and plan our budget for 2018-9, it is important for me to understand your views on how much you are willing to pay towards policing the county. Changes in crime types and an overall increase in calls for service means that more officers are needed to keep people safe.”

Mr Ablewhite, who prefers the extra £1 charge, said: “If each household in a Band D property paid just one extra pound each month, it would make a big difference, equating to an additional 55 police officers.”

Early responses show a substantial support for the higher charge.

The survey runs until January 29 and can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/W3CD8P3.

Copies of the survey are also available with an easy read description and views can also be given by telephone on 0300 333 3456 or by e-mail to cambs-pcc@cambs.pnn.police.uk .

Huntingdonshire District Council is looking to increase its share of the Council Tax by two per cent, or £2.66 a year for a Band D property and charges for Cambridgeshire County Council, fire and parish councils have to be added to the bill.

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