RESIDENTS across Cheshire are being asked if they would support paying more tax to go towards the county's police service.

It follows an announcement from Government that the force is in line to receive an extra £11.8 million in 2021-22.

However, £5.8 million of that cash will actually come directly from Cheshire ratepayers, with a higher police precept on their council tax bills if approved following consultation with residents.

If the increase is given the go-ahead, residents in a Band D property would pay an additional £1.25 a month to Cheshire Police from April.

"The extra funding that the Government boasts about is dependent on local residents paying more in council tax over the next year," said David Keane, Cheshire's police and crime commissioner.

"I completely disagree with the Government putting the burden on local taxpayers.

"However, the chief constable has advised me that without this increase, Cheshire Police would be unable to maintain its existing level of service and would be unable to meet the additional operational demands and pressures that we face."

Mr Keane says that despite battling budget cuts of £60 million in the past decade, he has fulfilled a 'commitment to bring back real community policing to Cheshire' by ensuring every community has a dedicated PC and PCSO.

However, the Labour politician insists the coronavirus pandemic has put added strain onto the force's stretched resources.

He said: "2020 was one of the most challenging years in living memory and I know that many of us are anxious about the future.

“The pandemic has shown us just how important policing and other key public services are when it comes to protecting our communities.

“Unfortunately, Covid-19 has also made the future financial position for policing even more challenging."

Following the announcement of the Government's provision police funding settlement, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "We have asked more of the police than ever before during the coronavirus pandemic – the British people and I are extremely grateful for their dedication.

Winsford Guardian: Home Secretary Priti Patel. Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.Home Secretary Priti Patel. Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

"I am absolutely committed to giving the police the resources they need – this funding package delivers on that.

"It will allow us to continue to put more police on the streets, and reduce crime as we build back safer from the pandemic."

Cheshire residents are also being asked for their views on what the county's policing priorities should be in Mr Keane's consultation.

Virtual engagement events with Mr Keane and Chf Con Darren Martland will take place from 6.30pm to 8pm on January 12 and 19, and 1pm to 2.30pm on January 16.

To attend, email your name and address, the date of the session and a question to pcc@cheshire.pnn.police.uk

Registration for each session closes 24 hours before it takes place.

Questions can also be sent to the above email address if you are unable to attend the event.

For the consultation survey click here.