PLANS for an increase in Council Tax precept to help increase the number of police on our streets have been backed by the public.

The proposal was raised in a survey launched by launched last month by Merseyside's Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy.

It followed a Government announcement in December that local council precept payers must pay more to avoid further cuts in police jobs.

More than 2,000 people responded to the survey. According to the results 1628 (74.2%) were willing to approve an increase in precept, with 486 (22.1%) were not prepared to pay more and 81 (3.7%) were 'unsure'.

Police commissioner Jane Kennedy said the rise would help protect 100 police officer jobs and recruit 40 new officers.

The increase equates to approximately 31p a week or £16 a year for a Band A household, the lowest Council Tax category but the majority of council tax payers on Merseyside.

Jane Kennedy said the 2019/2020 financial settlement provides an additional £8.4m in government grant for Merseyside Police, but will be entirely consumed by the pension shortfall announced by Government last September.

The settlement provides no new money for the day-to-day running of Merseyside Police, the cost of which increases every year due to pay and price inflation.

Since 2010 Merseyside Police has been required to make cuts of £110m, with an estimated £14.5m still to make by 2022/23.

Even after this small increase, the police element of Council Tax bills on Merseyside will still be among the lowest in the country.

Miss Kennedy said: "While the Government arrogantly assumed taxpayers would be willing to pay more, I wanted to actually ask local people their views.

"Once again I am overwhelmed by the public’s support for their local police service.

"While the Government are clearly not willing to provide the funding the police need and deserve, the vast majority of local people are prepared to contribute more to protect Merseyside Police.

"This shows just how highly people value their police and how desperately they want to see more officers on the beat.

"It is now my responsibility to work with the Chief Constable to get the most out of every pound we spend and deliver the most effective and efficient service we can with the resources we have.

"I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to give their views – it is reassuring to know that people want to ensure their local force is adequately funded.

"Thanks also to those who feel they are taxed enough already and could not support the proposals, many of whom felt, like I do, that this money should come from central government.

"I know everyone is feeling the pinch at the moment and I ask people to pay more extremely reluctantly."

During the consultation, the Commissioner held a community roadshow event in each local authority area, with two in Liverpool, in order to hear the views of many people as possible.

Miss Kennedy will present her proposed budget to the Police and Crime Panel today for consideration and approval.