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Last Updated: Friday, 23 February 2007, 17:08 GMT
Tax hike plan to save police jobs
Durham Police HQ
The force wants to save 200 jobs from the axe
Council tax payers in County Durham are facing a price hike to safeguard the jobs of 200 police jobs.

Durham Police Authority is proposing a rise of between 45p to 1.34 a week depending on which band residents' properties are in.

The Durham force needs to trim 10m off its budget over the next three years.

Last month the force said it hoped that any jobs that had to go would be shed through retirements, transfers to other forces and natural wastage.

County Councillor Mrs Anne Wright, who chairs the police authority, said: "Our choice was clear - to allow hundreds of police posts to be lost by the financial squeeze or take decisive action.

'Safest parts'

"The residents of County Durham and Darlington have told us at recent consultative meetings that they don't want fewer police officers and gave overwhelming support for an increase in our council tax.

"I believe people who realise the decision we have taken is in the best interests of every community.

"We live in one of the safest parts of the country and I am sure people who want to keep it that way will consider the increase we are seeking is an acceptable price to pay."

The force also said it hoped to recruit an extra 70 community support officers and 70 other staff to try and offset any losses.

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