POLICE in Lincolnshire have defended their decision to increase the policing precept - warning that tax payers either paid more, or the number of officers on the street would have to be cut.
Lincolnshire Police Authority last week agreed a 3.96 per cent rise in the policing element of the Council Tax.
This means that from April a Band D household will pay an extra £ 7.11 a year - or 14 pence a week - for policing.
Police Authority Chairman Barry Young said: “The Authority had a stark choice: either raise the level of our precept or lose more police officers.
“We believe we have made the right decision. Basically, we are asking Lincolnshire’s council taxpayers to make an investment of a few more pence a week in return for a force that by April will have 97 per cent of its officers on the front line.
“We were told by the Government to cut £20million from our budget by 2014. Without an increase in the policing element of the council tax, a budget reduction of that size would inevitably mean a reduction in the standard of policing.
“We are not willing to jeopardise the effectiveness of what is already the leanest, most cost-effective force in the country.
“We debated accepting a one-off Government grant equal to a three per cent increase in return for freezing the precept. Taking the offer would have made an already precarious financial position far worse.
“It would have left the force with an ever-increasing funding shortfall in coming years.
“We could not accept what would be, at best, a temporary financial fix and at worst a threat to public safety.”
Chief Constable Richard Crompton, said: “This modest increase is necessary to secure effective policing in Lincolnshire”.