MORE police officers are needed to share the workload in Portsmouth, according to a top councillor.
The city council’s cabinet member for community safety, Cllr Dave Ashmore, has written to Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner, Michael Lane, saying that Portsmouth needs more resources for officers in the city.
According to Cllr Ashmore, people in Portsmouth rarely see a police officer on the beat and no longer bother to contact the police about day-to-day crime – because they feel that the police can't respond sufficiently.
Cllr Ashmore said: ‘The police are working very hard for their community; however, there's no getting away from the fact that they are often stretched to full capacity with their time and resources.
‘The police do a tremendously important job, and I feel as a council that we should be giving them maximum support.’
In his letter to Michael Lane, Cllr Ashmore said that the upcoming budget proposals provide an ideal opportunity to allocate more resources for the city.
He said: ‘I know that the police need to prioritise serious crime, but they also need to be seen to respond to the needs of local residents who pay for the police through their taxes.
‘I welcome the work done by the police in Portsmouth to target violent crime and domestic violence; I also welcome the work done to make Portsmouth a city where violent drug dealers from London and from Portsmouth feel that the city's police will be on to them.
‘Therefore, in the budget proposals you are bringing forward, I would like to see more emphasis and more resources going into the local beat teams here in Portsmouth so that local residents can see and feel that there is a real police presence and that they are being protected from crime.’
A spokesman from Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘We welcome the current interest in and support for policing, and fully support Mr Lane’s recommendation in relation to police funding.
‘With public backing we have the opportunity to protect vital services in Portsmouth and more widely across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.’
Hampshire Constabulary’s chief constable will have the final say on the allocation of resources to Portsmouth’s police, according to the police and crime commissioner.
Responding to Cllr Ashmore, the office’s chief executive James Payne said: ‘The government recently gave police and crime commissioners the flexibility to raise the local council tax precept by an additional £2 a month to help fund policing.
‘Michael has welcomed this flexibility and his budget proposals commit to use all of the additional money it will raise to fund local policing.
‘After the budget is set, it is for the Chief Constable to configure these resources where she believes they will be most operationally effective.’