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Police Commissioner asks for views on funding for frontline policing

by Alison Cornmell

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy is asking the people of Knowsley, and the wider city region, if they would be willing to pay a little extra through the police precept, which is collected alongside the council tax, to assist  Merseyside Police and secure the recruitment of 160 new officers.

From now until Sunday 31 January, the Police and Crime Commissioner is holding a consultation asking people if they would be willing to contribute alongside the extra funding expected by the Government. People are invited to have their say through a short online survey at www.MerseysidePCCpreceptsurvey.co.uk

The public consultation was launched by the Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy following the budget announcement in December 2020 when the Government made it very clear they expected local council taxpayers to pay more towards policing.

The additional money would help the Commissioner to balance the Merseyside Police budget for 2021/22 and ensure the Force can recruit 160 more officers in the year ahead.

This small increase in the contribution from local people will enable Merseyside Police to go ahead with the recruitment and manage increasing costs, reducing the need to make cuts to services.

The increase equates to approximately 19p a week or £10 a year for a Band A household, the lowest Council Tax category and the one paid by the majority of council tax payers on Merseyside.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy said: “While the government have increased the amount of money available for policing, there is also a very clear expectation from the Government that local tax payers should help towards policing, supporting the police recruitment drive and ensuring we can balance the books for another year.

“From 2010 the government’s policy of austerity forced cuts of £110m, and there are potentially further savings to make over the next three years. The size of our police Force reduced by a quarter, meaning 1,110 fewer police officers were patrolling the region’s streets by the end of the decade.

“However, in the last year and following the launch of Operation Uplift, the Chief Constable and I have finally been able to create new posts and recruit more officers to strengthen Merseyside Police and protect our communities.

“The Chief Constable and I have done everything we could to accelerate our recruitment drive and, by March 2021, 500 more officers will be patrolling the streets of Merseyside. This is good news however, the Force will still be a long way short of the numbers it had in 2010.

“We are ready and keen to recruit a further 160 police officers in the next year, however following the government’s announcement it is clear that we will need the public’s help if we are to achieve this.

“I know the public of Merseyside want more, not fewer police officers. Like last year, by paying a little more they can be assured that they will get more, more police officers, more police teams, working for us, in our communities.

“I am aware that local people are already heavily burdened in what has been a terrible year of disaster and anxiety, but I hope they will be willing to pay an extra 19p a week to help stabilise the Force’s budget and ensure we can recruit 160 new officers in the next 12 months.”