Cheshire residents are being asked their views on proposals to increase policing precept element of council tax and policing priorities.
Cheshire's police and crime commissioner David Keane has launched an online survey to obtain the views of Cheshire residents to find out their priorities for policing and community safety.
As well as asking residents what their top priority for Cheshire Police is, he also wants to know how safe they feel in their area and if they would support a £1.25 per month increase to the policing precept element of council tax to address increasing pressures on Cheshire Constabulary.
The online consultation will be supported by virtual public engagement sessions that the commissioner will hold with chief constable Darren Martland during the next three weeks.
They will provide residents with the opportunity to talk directly to the commissioner and chief constable about their views on community safety issues and the precept.
The consultation has been launched following the release of the government's Provisional Police Funding Settlement which sets out local police budgets for the next financial year.
PCC David Keane said: "2020 was one of the most challenging years in living memory and I know that many of us are anxious about the future.
"The pandemic has shown us just how important policing and other key public services are when it comes to protecting our communities.
"Unfortunately, COVID-19 has also made the future financial position for policing even more challenging.
"Funding for Cheshire Police has been cut significantly by the government over the last decade. We have made more than £60 million of savings during this time, whilst striving to ensure this vital service remains effective.
"During this period, I've maintained my commitment to bring back real community policing to Cheshire. With the support of the public, I have been able to increase officer numbers to ensure every community in Cheshire has its own dedicated Police Constable and Police Community Support Officer.
"The extra funding that the government boasts about is dependent on local residents paying more in council tax (£1.25 a month for the average Band D property) over the next year.
"I completely disagree with the government putting the burden on local taxpayers. However, the chief constable has advised me that without this 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.
"As your voice in policing, I want to hear your views on this proposal and I want to know what your policing priorities are for the coming year.
"Please take the time to the complete the short survey and have your say."
Cheshire residents can also give their views by completing the following survey.
The consultation closes at midnight on Sunday 24 January 2021.
The virtual public engagement events with the commissioner and chief constable will take place on the following dates:
Tuesday 12 January, 6.30pm-8pm
Saturday 16 January, 1pm-2.30pm
Tuesday 19 January, 6.30pm-8pm
If you would like to attend one of the virtual sessions please email your name and address, the date of the session you'd like to attend and your question for the commissioner or chief constable to [email protected]. Registration for each session closes 24 hours before it takes place. The link to join the sessions will be emailed to those registered shortly before each session.
Questions can also be submitted by those unable to attend the sessions to [email protected] using the subject title 'question'.
You can also call the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner on 01606 364000 to register your interest to attend the virtual sessions or to submit a question.