1. ITV Report

Cumbria's PPC proposes rise in council tax for more bobbies on the beat

Photo: PA

Households in Cumbria could be charged an extra £1 in council tax each month to bring more police on the streets.

Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner wants to make 25 additional police officers visible and present in local communities.

Today a public consultation has been set up for residents to respond to the proposal of increasing council tax for band D properties.

The funding would also contribute towards:

  • 95 Police Community Support Officers visibly present in local communities.
  • An increase in the number of armed officers.
  • Improved protection of children from online grooming and exploitation.
  • Easier and better ways to contact the police.

The Commisioner, Peter McCall, says he has a difficult choice to make:

I know that increasing council tax is never popular, but your safety and security are more important to me. My commitment to you is to secure an effective policing service and to 'keep you safe'.

It is clear to me that combatting crime and addressing your local concerns such as anti-social behaviour is becoming even more complex. In addition, rising demand and emerging threats such as terrorism and online-crime are increasingly stretching the force's resources.

None of us likes to pay more but I believe that the right thing to do is to invest now in front line policing for Cumbria, however, I have to balance this against the impact on hard pressed household budgets.

I believe that if you are to pay more, it is only fair to ensure that the police deliver an improved service in return.

Through this consultation I am seeking your support and asking that we together make a really important contribution to protect you and above all to keep us all safe."

– Peter McCall, Police and Crime Commissioner, Cumbria Police

The proposal would see band D properties pay £11.97 per year. The largest number of properties in Cumbria fall into band B, which would pay an extra 78p a month.

This follows the Government's decision to give Police and Crime Commissioners more power to increase council tax to help improve services.

Chief Constable, Jerry Graham, says he believes the money will secure the future of local policing services:

I have always stated that an independent police force is the best way to keep Cumbria safe, and I remain convinced that this is still the case. This is a key opportunity to secure our future, providing dedicated policing services for the people of Cumbria.

I would like the force to be in the strongest possible position to protect Cumbria. I am confident that this extra money will support the future of policing services in Cumbria. Without the additional funding the current police service may face further reductions.

I understand that we are asking for more money at a time when many people's personal budgets are already stretched, particularly after Christmas, and it is not a request I am making lightly. However, this relatively small amount of money will have a significant impact on the quality of local policing services we can offer in your communities.

I fully believe that this money will secure a future for independent local policing in Cumbria to keep you and your family safe. I support the Commissioner's proposals."

– Jerry Graham, Chief Constable

The consultation can be found here.