More police are needed on the streets of Fleetwood if residents are to be expected to pay more to cover the cost of enforcement the law, port leaders said today.
Lancashire’s police boss has announced a 1.99 per cent tax hike for residents.
But Ivor Bould, town councillor and chairman of Fleetwood’s Neighbourhood Watch Association, has called for assurances over how the money will be spent.
Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw has claimed there is strong public support for the increase but Coun Bould said that is dependent on how the money is used.
He is among those calling for a more visible police presence to tackle crime in the town – but said his questions have so far gone unanswered.
He said: “I don’t mind paying if we are going to get more police back on the street - we need that to stop crime.
“We want to know where the money is going. We want to see it broken down.
“The situation in Fleetwood is getting worse. When we had two PCSOs in each ward, they were the link between members of the public and the police but we don’t have that anymore.”
His views are echoed by Wyre councillor Terry Rogers, who said taxpayers should get value for money.
He said: “I am the first to understand that funding has been cut and I am all for that increase being spent on neighbourhood policing - but not to supplement helicopters or anything like that.
“We are in desperate need of community beat managers on the streets.
“People are saying to me they do not see police officers or PCSOs out in Fleetwood like they used to.
“Crime figures may be down in Lancashire but you do get hotspots, like in Fleetwood.”
Last year, the port saw the number of PCSOs on the beat slashed after a funding arrangement with Wyre Council came to an end. Back in October, that was blamed for a spike in low-level crime - such as shoplifting, bike theft and criminal damage.
Mr Grunshaw said: “I have always said I am committed to prioritising frontline policing, and that remains the case.
“Where officers are deployed is a decision for the chief constable, and one which is made taking into account risk, threat and harm.
“The situation in Wyre has not been helped by Wyre Council’s decision to cut its funding for PCSOs last year.
“We have already had £60m taken off us by the government and I still have £19.2m of savings to find - and as a result of that I can’t promise more officers.”