TAXPAYERS are set to face an increase in what they contribute to Cleveland Police.

Barry Coppinger, Cleveland’s police commissioner, is proposing increasing the police element of council tax bills by 1.99 per cent in order to protect frontline services.

It would mean an extra 5p or 7p a week on most council tax bills.

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Mr Coppinger says the move, coupled with a restructure, will ensure every community across the four districts retains its own Neighbourhood Police Team.

The proposed increase in the police precept will be considered by the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel on Tuesday (January 5).

In his report to the panel Mr Coppinger said that, while the Government was offering a grant equivalent to a one per cent precept increase for the next two years, it would pose significant financial problems in the future.

He said: “We know that we will be facing a potential funding gap of over £5m by 2015-16. Finding the further savings required will be a tough challenge.

"If we were to take the grant for the next two years, it would mean that from 2015-16 onwards there would be a further shortfall of over £500,000 - that’s equivalent to 11 police officers or 18 community support officers.”

Under the commissioner’s proposals total funding available for policing in Cleveland in the coming financial year would be £137m of which £27m would be raised from the council tax precept.

A 1.99 per cent increase would add £2.58 to next year’s bill for a Band A property, £3.01 for Band B and £3.87 to Band D.

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