IN reply to the recent letters from James Cowan and John Merry (HAS, Jan 5) regarding proposals to increase the Durham Police precept.

No one likes to pay more council tax than anyone else but one needs to realise that we need an efficient and well-run police service.

That is the main reason that police and crime commissioners were set up in the first place by David Cameron under the coalition government – it was not the Labour Party that put these together.

Having said that we need to look at the detail of the claim – we do have a relatively small police force. However in order to tackle crime we need an efficient force and to get that we need to pay for one, what we are paying for is just that – an increase in policing.

The Police and Crime Panel (PCP) provides checks and balances on the work of the Police, Crime & Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC). The panel does not scrutinise Durham Constabulary; it scrutinises how the PCVC carries out his statutory responsibilities. It is there to constructively challenge him.

Vince Crosby, Newton Aycliffe