All of Cheshire's 122 policing communities will soon have their own named police officer dedicated to tackling issues in each area.
Police and Crime Commissioner.PCC David Keane has today (Friday, 7th February) announced that the Cheshire police budget for 2020/21 will include funding for the neighbourhood officers.
The new neighbourhood officers will work alongside the PCSOs already dedicated to each policing community to develop strong links with local residents and tackle emerging issues before they become more serious.
PCC David Keane said: "When I was elected I made a commitment to putting more officers back where they belong - in the heart of our communities. The community base model, which I introduced in 2018, has seen each of the 122 police communities in Cheshire have its own accessible police base and PCSO and now they'll each have a dedicated police constable.
"This has not been an easy promise to deliver with challenging financial circumstances and an increase in serious crime taking officers away from our neighbourhoods but I have fought for these neighbourhood officers as I know how important a visible policing presence is to the residents I represent."
The policing precept – the element of council tax that pays for policing – will rise by an average of £10 per year to help fund this year's budget. It follows a public consultation where two thirds of respondents agreed to an increase in the precept to invest in neighbourhood policing.
PCC David Keane added "This year's precept consultation received the largest response we've ever had which is testament to local peoples' passion and commitment to policing and community safety in Cheshire. When I was out talking to residents in our communities many of them told me that they wanted to see increased investment in policing to increase police officer visibility.
"While I believe that extra funding should come from the government, not the local taxpayer, I have listened to the chief constable and the public and increased the precept by a small amount to keep our communities safe.
"This budget delivers on all my key priorities; including improving connections with our communities, preventing crime and anti-social behavior, supporting victims and ensuring officers have the best resources available to help them tackle crime."
Funding from the budget will also be used to invest in Cheshire Constabulary's force control centre to improve the service for callers to 999 or 101. There will also be investment in 'pro-active' operations to tackle county lines drug activity and other serious and organised crime.
In his role to support victims, the commissioner has also set aside funding to further develop Cheshire's integrated stalking unit and to provide increased funding to Cheshire's Women's Centres that support survivors of domestic abuse.
There's also set to be increased investment in health and wellbeing support for police officers and staff with a particular focus on mental health support, and investment in the latest technology to ensure police officers have the appropriate equipment to support them in their roles.
Cheshire's police and crime panel lent their support to the Commissioner's proposed budget and the precept increase at their meeting today (Friday 7th February).