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Wednesday, 29 January, 2003, 07:00 GMT
Police ask tax payers for more funds
police generic
The force is aiming for 3,500 officers by 2007
Devon and Cornwall police chiefs are asking council tax payers if they want to spend an extra 30 a year to cut crime.

A series of roadshows by the police authority are asking sks people to vote for an increase.

They are told that to keep finance at the existing level could mean losing 400 officers.

But increasing the budget by 20.5m - 16m of which comes from tax payers - will put the force on target to increase the number of police officers from 3,250 to 3,500 by 2007.

The level of support has been very reassuring

Brian Greenslade
Police authority chairman Brian Greenslade said three meetings had been held in Plymouth, Helston and the South Hams, and support for the proposed increase had ranged from 75% to 93%.

Nine more meetings are planned before 14 February when the police authority budget will be set.

The police authority wants an increase in the police element of householders' council tax bills - from 78 a year for a Band D property to 107.64.

Low incomes

Mr Greenslade said: "The level of support has been very reassuring.

"If we do not increase council tax by a significant amount, then we shall have to shed police officers."

Deputy Chief Constable Nigel Arnold, who attended a meeting in Plymouth, rejected suggestions that the road shows were likely to be loaded with those supportive of the police.

This was no rubber stamping exercise

David Money
He said: "It's not democracy in action, but I would not call them unrepresentative - there were a lot of young people there and after the meeting there were a number of serious concerns raised."

Police authority treasurer John Glasby said that support for the increase was strong in rich and poor areas.

He said: "What we are asking for is not a lot, but you have to be mindful that many people in the region are on low incomes and members will bear that in mind when they decide on the budget."

David Money, an independent member of the police authority who chaired the Plymouth meeting, said: "There was a robust exchange of views. This was no rubber stamping exercise.

"We constantly get criticised for not allowing people to air their views, but if you give them the opportunity, people call it a fait accompli."


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24 Jan 03 | England
21 Jan 03 | England
09 Jan 03 | England
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