Nottinghamshire PCSO cut prompts tax rise call

PCSO Image copyright Gareth Milner
Image caption PCSO form a large part of the force's community policing strategy

A union has called for a rise in council tax to protect police numbers in Nottinghamshire and for officials to accept it will trigger a public vote.

It comes as Nottinghamshire Police said a 25% cut in community support officer numbers was needed to meet budget cuts.

Unison said it believed an above-2% rise in its share of council tax would be backed in a public referendum.

However, Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said no such vote had ever succeeded.

Due to government cuts, the force is having to save £2.4m from its budget, he said.

'Willing to pay'

The force plans to shut four police stations and five front counters but also has said it will reduce its 319 PCSOs by 72.

By law, if any part of the tax is to rise by 2% or more, the move must be put to a public vote.

Unison's Dave Ratchford said: "The commissioner himself did a consultation last year with 4,000 Nottingham residents.

"Of these, 67% said they were willing to pay additional money to protect police services and 82% said they were against further cuts."

But Mr Tipping said experience showed people would not back them in a vote.

"Just two weeks ago there was a referendum in Bedfordshire to put up the police precept and it was rejected by 70% of the population," he said.

"I don't think people will vote for an increase. I am more than happy to discuss it but there has not been one public body that has won this sort of vote."

Separately, a report from HMIC has found the force is making good progress towards achieving the savings required while maintaining an effective service to the public.

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