Despite an additional award of a £15m grant just before Christmas, GM deputy Mayor Beverly Hughes has proposed an increase in council tax which would mean a rise of up to £24 per year for each household in Greater Manchester in order to pay for more police officers. It is said that the grant will only cover the pensions shortfall.
This comes after last year residents were forced to pay a mayoral precept on their council tax bills to pay for the GM Mayors office. A move which was widely criticised.
The government has now allowed local areas the option of raising the police precept to £24 and it would seem that GM will be taking them up on the offer.
Residents across the area are now being asked to have their say on the proposals as part of an online consultation via the gmconsult.org website, they have until the 27th of Jan to do so.
It is hoped that if the proposal is adopted, an additional 320 officers will be recruited to bolster the force which has been criticised for failing to investigate some types of crimes.
It is also hoped that the money could be used to improve the 101 service which itself has come under criticism with some residents calling it "shambolic" and "not good enough" after some callers were left waiting for over 3 hours to get through.
At the time GMP said it was struggling to fill vacancies in its call centre as well as retain workers. Since then a new online chat service has been launched allowing people to contact GMP via the internet.
Baroness Beverly Hughes said:
"The Government's disappointing and shameful police grant announcement did very little to ease the pressure on stretched police budgets, and once again passed the financial burden on to local taxpayers.
"This means we are left with very little choice but to ask Greater Manchester residents to contribute more to help us ensure that our police service is properly resourced to protect them.
"This is not an easy proposal to put forward and we do so very reluctantly, but I want to be clear that all the money raised through council tax will be invested in improving your police service. This will include continuing to strengthen police officer numbers and investing in new ways to tackle the increasing demands on the service.
"We need to balance the books whilst balancing competing demands, which is why we want to hear your views on the proposals as we continue to mitigate years of cuts."
You can have your say on the proposals by visiting gmconsult.org by the 27th of January.