LYME Regis residents are being urged to have their say on a proposed rise in the amount of money they pay towards the police force.
Town and district councillor Cheryl Reynolds is encouraging residents to respond to a survey on a proposed £1 a month rise in the Dorset Police precept (the portion of council tax which goes towards funding the police).
Speaking at Wednesday night’s town council meeting, Councillor Reynolds said she had already submitted her own response, saying she would not pay anymore for something the police force was not providing, as there was “no police presence in Lyme Regis”.
Councillor Reynolds admitted that since submitting her response, one Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) had started covering Lyme Regis part-time.
Councillors did not consider this was enough, with Councillor Sean Larcombe saying a part-time PCSO was “tantamount to a traffic warden”.
The Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Michaela Ellis, said she had been seeking a meeting with the local inspector to discuss concerns about police coverage in Lyme Regis, but she had not been able to get hold of him. Instead, she was expected to meet with local officers this week.
Councillor Reynolds suggested that the council needed to arrange a meeting with Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill.
Mr Underhill has said the proposed increase in the police precept is the result of central government funding cuts, and could raise £3.4million for the force, which “will help to ensure that some planned initiatives including police officer recruitment can at least continue for another year”.
Mr Underhill added: “I would like to thank all of those who have already completed the consultation and shared their ideas and concerns at our roadshow events or via our live web chat.
“The precept consultation is always a hugely important programme of engagement with residents, but perhaps this year more than ever it is vital I gather the people of Dorset’s views. The government has recommended that Police & Crime Commissioners raise the policing precept by an unprecedented amount and it is only right that residents are given the opportunity to have their say.
“I have made clear my disappointment that the government has failed to allocate any additional central funding to Dorset Police and has placed the burden on council tax payers, however I am confident that if the Force is to continue providing a quality service to the community, this investment is needed.
“All organisations can become more efficient, but the problem is that Dorset Police has been making savings for years, achieving £37million in efficiency savings since 2010/11. You can only re-invent or do ‘more for less’ to a certain point. The force is, in my view, now so lean that if we go any lower in workforce numbers, we put the delivery of policing at risk.”
The public consultation on the proposed precept rise closes this Sunday (January 28th). Visit the website www.dorsetpoliceprecept.com to have your say.