CHESHIRE residents will see a 4.99 per cent increase in the police precept from April, adding an extra £12.50 to the annual bill for a band D property.

Police and crime commissioner John Dwyer said the £12.50 increase to the policing element of the council tax bill amounts to an extra £1.04 a month for a band D household and is needed to maintain the level of service across the county.

It will take the monthly police precept for a band D property to £21.91 from April.

Speaking at today’s (Friday) meeting of the Cheshire Police and Crime Panel, the commissioner said: “This is lower than the flexibility permitted of £13 and represents an increase of 4.99 per cent per annum, in line with the maximum which can be levied by the four local authorities represented here today.”

Northwich Guardian: PCC John DwyerPCC John Dwyer (Image: Cheshire PCC)

He said two thirds of households in Cheshire fall in council tax bands A to C, so will pay less than the £12.50 yearly increase.

Mr Dwyer said £6.2m of savings had already been identified for 2024/25 within the force.

“Without additional funding afforded through this precept increase, substantial and additional savings would be required and the level of service currently provided by the constabulary could not be maintained,” he said.

“So in essence, it’s about increase or we reduce the quality of service we're delivering.”

Mr Dwyer said for the 12 months to the end of October 2023, Cheshire Police had:

  • the highest charge rate for violence against the person in the country;
  • the highest charge rate for other sexual crimes in the country;
  • the second highest charge rate for all sexual offences in the country;
  • the second highest charge rate for stalking and harassment in the country;
  • the second highest charge rate for burglary of business and community offences in the country.

All members of the panel – which includes councillors from Cheshire’s four borough councils – Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester, Warrington and Halton – voted in favour of the 4.99 per cent increase in the precept.

Cllr Wendy Maisey (Warrington BC, Con) said: “I think some of the outcomes and deliveries are outstanding and Cheshire Police appears to be lean and mean when it comes to the finances.”

Gemma Shepherd-Etchells, a co-optee  on the panel, said: “Cheshire Police is delivering in the face of adversity and it is important we therefore support Cheshire Police so that they can go on to continue and deliver the level of service that I think residents deserve.”

Northwich Guardian: Cllr Judy SnowballCllr Judy Snowball (Image: Cheshire East Council)

Cllr Judy Snowball (Cheshire East, Lab) said she was mindful of the cost of living crisis but ‘the public clearly support more money coming through the precept to the police and the police's work, and that's been shown in the budget consultation and it's regularly shown on the doorstep’.

She added: “My wider concerns, but they're really not the remit of this committee, are the cuts that have been delivered to the entire criminal justice system since 2010, which has effectively got it on its knees and virtually not able to function…

“Sadly, the police ultimately aren't able to function as they could because on a wider scale the courts have been cut so much, the court staff have been cut legal aid has been cut, defence services have been cut, the CPS has been cut and so we go on.”