THE majority of Bridgwater residents would be willing to pay and extra £1 a month to support local policing, PCC Sue Mountstevens found during a visit to Angel Place this week.

The Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens took in Angel Place as part of a whistle-stop consultation tour talking to residents in Bristol, Weston-Super-Mare and Chard as well.

Sue Mountstevens and her team spoke to 113 people during the public drop-in, with 82 per cent saying they would be happy to pay an extra £1 a month, 17 per cent said 'no' and one per cent they don't know.

Ms Mountstevens said she was pleased with the response from residents.

"I am always conscious that many residents are struggling with household bills and I never take a decision to raise the policing part of the council tax lightly," Ms Mountstevens said.

"We have to find £11 million savings in our budget, and there are tough decisions still to make, but if we can put up council tax by £12 a year, that will cover £7 million.

"I have spoken to some residents who said they would be happy to pay an extra £5 if needed, and the results show how valued the police are here."

The consultation results will be published in the Police and Crime Panel papers ahead of their meeting on February 1 when the budget will be set.

“Since 2016 I have ring-fenced neighbourhood policing and with your investment I would continue to protect neighbourhood policing numbers until 2020. However, let’s be clear, we know if we do not increase the council tax we will see a reduction in police officers and staff and this impact will undoubtedly be felt in communities," Ms Mountstevens said.

“Although our Government core funding remains the same next year, our costs such as pay rises and inflation continue to increase. This is against a backdrop of increasing pressure on policing with more complex crimes such as child sexual exploitation, terrorist threats and more calls for help."

Overall Ms Mountstevens and her team spoke to 379 people across the four locations on Wednesday, and 85 per cent said yes to paying an extra £1 a month, 14 per cent said 'no' and one per cent said they did not know.

While the reactions in person have been generally positive, the reactions on Facebook have been more mixed. Ben Edghill writes: "I've never understood the point of the PCC. Seems like wages going to needless management when it could go to frontline officers. I'll pay an extra pound a month if they scrap the PCC and use that money for proper policing."

Another resident, Tony Ward, commented: "Are they asking us to pay more to have the police we have lost over the past five years back? How about charging us £12 less a year and giving us back the service we were previously paying for?"

However John Holliday said: "Yes, this equates to just 3.3p a day, I would be happy to pay that."