THE Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Cheshire says he has approved a budget which will deliver a 'true' police service for the community.

PCC David Keane has approved the budget following a public consultation on policing priorities and funding in which 68 per cent of the 2,282 respondents said they would be willing to support a rise in the policing precept to help Cheshire Police.

The commissioner has given his approval to the 2021/22 budget which will see increased investment in areas that Cheshire residents said were a priority for them in the consultation.

Mr Keane admitted he was glad to see the precept rise agreed as without it, senior police officers felt the current service on offer would not be met.

He said: “I’m confident that this budget will allow us to continue to deliver a truly local police service which protects Cheshire residents and builds on the foundations that we have laid so far.

“I thank all those residents who responded to the survey or attended our online events to share their views.

“When the government announced its provisional funding settlement for Cheshire late last year, the chief constable advised me that, without a precept increase, Cheshire Police would be unable to maintain its existing level of service and would be unable to meet the additional operational demands and pressures that we face.

“In reaching my decision regarding the precept, I have carefully considered the views of the public, any government announcements, and the recommendations made to me by the chief constable.

“It is important to note that policing is still recovering from years of cuts and the demands we face continue to grow, both in volume and complexity.

"With the support of the public, however, we have been able to invest in our front line and I believe this budget will provide the chief constable with the resources needed to make our communities safer.”

It is proposed that the policing precept – the element of council tax that pays for policing – will rise by £1.25 per month for the average Band D property (over 12 months) to help fund this year’s budget.

As well as allowing Cheshire Constabulary to enhance its community policing model, which sees a dedicated PC and PCSO for every area in Cheshire, the budget for 2021/22 will also allow for the recruitment of an additional 88 police officers.

There will also be investment to bolster the recording and investigation of crimes, including serious and organized crime, plus funding for the recently-developed Stalking and Domestic Abuse Multi-Agency Team, among others.

Chief constable Darren Martland added: “I welcome the budget, which is necessary to develop and enhance our community policing model.

“It enables dedicated PCSOs and police officers to continue to work with communities to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and make our roads safer.

“The increase will also ensure that Cheshire Constabulary has the resources that are critical to tackle some of the complex challenges of serious and organised crime and provide the necessary technology to investigate online crime and abuse.

“We will prioritise the protection of vulnerable people and put victims and witnesses at the heart of everything we do and working with our partners and communities, will make Cheshire even safer.”

The commissioner has written to the Police and Crime Panel to set out the precept increase and his budget ahead of its meeting next week where it will be discussed.