DORSET residents have backed plans to pay an extra £1 a month towards policing in the county.

Seventy-nine per cent of residents who took part in a public consultation said they would support the rise.

More than 4,800 people took part in the consultation which closed on Sunday.

It is the responsibility of Police and Crime Commissioners to take a decision annually on whether to raise or freeze the policing precept.

Previously, PCCs could increase the amount by a maximum of 1.99%.

For the coming financial year, the Policing Minister suggested PCCs pursue an increase of £1 per month for an average Band D household.

Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martyn Underhill said: “This is always a hugely important piece of consultation, but given the unprecedented increase recommended by the Government, it was particularly vital this year that I gathered the views of as many residents as possible.

“I have been honest throughout that I am disappointed that the Government failed to provide any additional central funding for Dorset Police, but confident that the income raised from a precept increase is necessary for the Force to maintain a high level of service for the community.

He added: “I am pleased that residents have appreciated this complex picture and have once again demonstrated just how important local policing is to them.”

Residents were also asked if they felt that Dorset Police generally required more investment.

Ninety per cent of residents agreed that it did.

Mr Underhill said: “I have long campaigned for fairer funding for Dorset Police and this result tells me that residents support this and appreciate the challenges facing the service.

“The response also suggests that over half of those who said they would not be prepared to pay an additional £1 per month still recognise that the Force needs the investment.

“Looking at the comments, many believe that the bill should be footed by central Government and others have expressed their support for the police, but concerns over their own financial situations. I fully appreciate both these challenges to the proposal.”

The PCC will next present his proposal to raise the precept to the Police and Crime Panel, which consists of councillors and independent members.

Following this, the PCC will make a final decision and any changes to the policing precept will take effect from the new financial year, beginning April 1.