‘POLICING on the cheap’ is how one town councillor responded to news of a zero per cent increase on the policing precept last week.
Councillor Owen Jones, a long-standing member of Oswestry Town Council, led calls for extra funding for policing across West Mercia, despite a public vote favouring the zero per cent increase over those of one or two per cent.
Monies from a two per cent increase – around 7p per week to a Band D property owner – would have supported around 30 PCs, or 60 PCSOs beyond 2015/16, according to Police and Crime Commissioner, Bill Longmore.
Cllr Jones said: “I think what they are trying to do is policing on the cheap which in the long term will not be beneficial for us all. Something needs to be done, they need to increase roles so they can administer justice in Oswestry.”
He was backed by Cllr Heather Bickerton, who said she would have supported the two per cent increase, but added: “If you speak to the average person they do not want to pay it.”
Oswestry Town Mayor, Cllr Martin Bennett said he also had concerns of how services would be provided on decreased funds, commenting: “We would like to see more police officers questioning and confiscating, it is unlikely that is going to be happening in the future. Policing may in the future be more related to incidents of crime, rather than the perception of crime and disorder.”
Cllr Stephen Haworth added: “It is only when you start to lose services that you realise what you had. What we need is quality and value and we are not going to get it if we keep decreasing the value, which is why I would have supported the two per cent.”
Mr Longmore submitted his proposed precept and draft Police and Crime Plan for 2013-17 to the Police and Crime Panel on February 1.
Writing to councillors, he said: “I recognise that there are considerable pressures on personal finances and for this reason I am consulting on a zero per cent precept increase.”
But he added the Government have indicated an extra £800,000 per year, equivalent to a one per cent rise, for two years if the precept is not increased.