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An extra 7p a week helps keep bobbies on the beat
Saturday 1st March 2014 @ 16:00 by Max Wieland

The Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner has said increasing council tax bills will go some way to helping slow down the loss of bobbies on the beat.

That was the message given at last week’s Budget Consultation meeting at the Hattersley Hub.

An increase of about 7p a week for an ordinary household will help to bring in 50 new police officers to the force this year.

This is despite the fact that GMP will lose another 300 officers – bringing the forces total to 6,700 by the end of this year due to Government plans to cut another £96m from their budget.

So the message at last week’s budget consultation was clear, the forthcoming council tax rise will not paper over the cracks, but it would be a start.

“Fifty extra officers isn’t properly topping up our total but its putting a few cops back into the cuts the Government are trying to drain away,” said Commissioner Tony Lloyd.

“It’s a huge challenge to lose that amount of policing but I don’t believe it’s what the public want here in Hattersley, Hyde and Tameside or across Greater Manchester.”

The extra 50 officers – which should typically equate to five extra officers for Tameside – will help Mr Lloyd with his goal to plough additional funding into neighbourhood policing.

“Policing begins and ends with the local community,” said the 63-year-old, who began his role as Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012.

“You obviously need your specialist services because there is an issue with organised crime here in Tameside as we saw with Dale Cregan, so you need that specialist backup, but even then, policing begins and ends in the neighbourhood with the local community and that is what this extra funding is going to help.

“The increase is the best way I can see to help mitigate against these massive cuts.”

Mr Lloyd had planned to increase the police part of the council tax by £5 annually – the maximum cost available – but was told by Central Government to reduce the rise.

Instead, it is expected that council tax will rise by £3.50 annually for the average home across the borough for the police element.

You can read more on this story in the current edition of the Tameside Reporter (February 27).