Tax could go up for police

On the beat: Police are asking if residents would pay more council tax
On the beat: Police are asking if residents would pay more council tax
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Police have asked city residents how much they would be prepared to pay in council tax rises to fund policing.

In this week’s east Preston Police and Communities Together (PACT) meeting, people were asked if they would be willing to accept an increase of up to five per cent, generating an extra £3m per year.

Police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw had been due to attend the meeting, but deputy Ibby Master attended in his place after Mr Grunshaw was taken ill.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Master said policing was facing an “unprecedented financial challenge”.

He said: “In Lancashire, we’ve already cut £60m from our budget, but despite that, officers and staff have continued to try hard to drive down crime. Based on the financial settlement we received in December, we still need to find savings of £20m by 2017.”

He said: “With a shortfall of £20m in future years, income raised from council tax is an important part of police funding. It is important to not only consider the policing priorities but also ask residents about what, if any, increase in council tax you would be willing to make towards policing.”

Residents were given a form to specify whether they would prefer to freeze council tax, or increase it by two per cent or five per cent. They were told a five per cent increase would be unlikely, but the option was there “just in case”.

One resident said she would like to contribute more but would “have to say no”. She said: “I don’t want the powers that be to go home tonight and, if we haven’t ticked we want to give more, to look at us as a community that doesn’t care because we do.”