A PLEA has been made for households to stump up an extra £5 a year to help cuts-hit Hampshire police keep our streets safe.
The money this would raise has been described as a “lifeline” as extra Government cutbacks mean the constabulary will this year receive £41m less than four years ago.
Police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes is set to poll residents on the idea amid fears policing in our communities is set to reach “dangerous levels”.
It comes as he issued a stark warning to Prime Minister David Cameron that his Government was risking public safety by continually cutting grants.
The idea has won the backing of Hampshire Police Federation which represents rank and file police officers in the county.
Mr Hayes said: “These are very, very difficult times for policing in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
“It would be wrong of me not to tell the public the truth about the impact of Government cuts.
“It is getting more difficult to keep up the level of neighbourhood policing people want and, quite frankly, should expect.”
The force is currently faced with finding a further £25m of savings due to a funding shortfall from the latest Government spending review.
Mr Hayes said one way of keeping the force’s head above water would be raising the precept, paid within council tax, by just three per cent.
This would see the average Band D household pay an extra £4.54 a year, or nine pence a week, raising the total bill to £155.79 per year.
Generating £2.9m annually, it will ensure the constabulary can deliver the savings required.
Mr Hayes said: “There will come a time when reduced policing in our communities will reach dangerous levels.
“We are not there yet, but my message to the Home Secretary, MPs and the Prime Minister is, you are risking public safety and offering the upper hand to criminals if you continue with your policy of undermining the good policing that is going on across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
“I believe that we must maintain a safe level of neighbourhood policing, including PCSOs on our streets, and this is why I am left with no option but to propose a precept increase.
“But I want to hear the public’s view on this. Our short online survey is an easy way to let me know whether you agree with this or not.”
The plan has won the backing of Hampshire Police Federation.
Chairman John Apter said “The public deserve the best possible police service, and this proposed increase is a lifeline which will assist us to keep hold of some of those essential areas of policing which people take for granted.
“I would therefore urge the public to support the PCC’s plan.”
The survey is available through the Commissioner’s website hampshirepcc.
gov.uk, Twitter account and Facebook page, and will be sent out to as many stakeholders as possible.
It will close on January 22 to ensure the views of the public can be considered by the Police and Crime Panel, who will be debating the proposal on January 24.