Would you pay more for policing in Lancashire?

Cuts: Clive Grunshaw and Chief Constable Steve Finnigan ponder more economies

Cuts: Clive Grunshaw and Chief Constable Steve Finnigan ponder more economies

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Four in every five council taxpayers in Lancashire are happy to pay more to keep police on the beat, according to Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw.

The man responsible for managing a shrinking constabulary budget has told the Home Secretary he doesn’t need an expensive referendum to tell him householders don’t want any more cuts to an already depleted force.

In a letter to Teresa May, Mr Grunshaw said research carried out across the county was overwhelmingly in favour of ploughing more cash, not less, into policing.

“We have consulted in a number of ways including a market research survey and at our road shows across Lancashire,” said the Commissioner. “And the message we got back was clear. Only 18 per cent of those asked said they didn’t want to increase the (council tax) precept for police. A massive 82 per cent are willing to pay more.

“Yet, because the Government says we have to have a local referendum if we want to increase the council tax by two per cent or more, we are not allowed to do it. A referendum would cost us around £1.5m to stage. But that money would be much better spent where it is needed the most – on the police service.”

Commissioner Grunshaw has urged Mrs May to abolish the need for a local referendum on proposed council tax increases for policing where it can be proved there is significant local support for an additional levy.

He has also called on the Home Secretary to introduce fairer funding for some constabularies, particularly in the hard-pressed North.

His letter came just a day after the Lancashire Police Federation warned the force could not take any more cutbacks.