CHESHIRE Police has agreed to raise its precept by almost two per cent to raise an additional £1.16 million.

In its new budget announced today, February 3, the force is set to increase its policing precept by 1.99 per cent for 2017/18.

The move means that residents in an average band D property will pay six pence a week more in tax to help support the force.

Cheshire Police announced the increase as part of its latest budget, which will total £193 million for the coming financial year.

David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, said that the new budget would help the force achieve its priorities despite the ongoing budgetary pressures which it faces.

“The previous chancellor’s commitment to ‘maintain overall police force budgets at current cash levels’ has been confirmed by the current Chancellor and remains dependent upon commissioners increasing their local council tax precept by up to two per cent in each year through to 2020,” he said.

“However, the Government has not honoured this commitment as the Provisional Grant Settlement for Cheshire is lower than implied in 2015.

“It is with this in mind, alongside strong public support, that I have agreed to a 1.99 per cent increase in policing precept.”

The move follows recent consultation held by Cheshire Police to ask residents for their views on increasing the policing precept.

Last month, the force claimed that as many as 26 officers could lose their jobs if a two per cent precept rise was not agreed.

Cheshire Police opted not to propose an increase of more than two per cent, which would have required a countywide referendum at the cost of around £1.2 million.

Mr Keane added: “The 1.99 per cent increase, which equates to six pence a week for an average band D household, will enable an additional £1.16m to be raised to support policing in Cheshire.

“However, it does not cover the cost of inflation, existing commitments and priority developments.

“These additional costs, together with the net change in funding, will need to be met through efficiencies and savings.

“Policing in Cheshire has made £52.4 million of savings since 2010 and a further £5.4 million of savings have been identified this year with the overall aim to protect local policing services.

“The investments for the forthcoming year will focus on ensuring that our police service is ready to meet current and future challenges in a robust and sustainable way.”

Cheshire Police will now focus on its ‘priority developments’, such as investigating cybercrime, introducing new technology and investing in speed awareness education.