CHESHIRE Police could ‘significantly cut’ the number of officers on the frontline – unless the taxpayer stumps up more cash.

A consultation has been launched over whether the policing precept in council tax payments for Cheshire residents should be increased by £2 per month for the average band D household.

The force says this will help it to ‘reinvest in neighbourhood policing and tackle serious and complex crime’ after it received a ‘disappointing’ cash settlement from the government for 2019/20.

Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane said: “The government has recognised that we need more money for policing, but it is putting the burden on local taxpayers.

“Cheshire Constabulary has made more than £60million worth of savings since 2010, but with non-pay budgets now over stretched we have a stark choice – to either fund this locally, or significantly cut policing numbers.

“I believe that by funding policing through rising council tax, the government is essentially pitting the police against the local population.

“But without an increase to the precept, the funding offered for 2019/20 is insufficient to cover the existing budget – let alone inflation and increasing demand on our resources.

“With increasing pressures on household budgets, I understand that this proposed government increase to council tax payments is a bitter pill to swallow.

“However, I been left with no choice but to consult on the difficult option.”

Mr Keane is set to hold a consultation event concerning the proposed increase to the police precept at Morrisons in Widnes next week.

He will visit the Green Oaks Way supermarket from 11am to 2pm on Wednesday, January 23.

The consultation runs until midnight on Sunday, January 27.

Residents can also give their views online by clicking here.