THE cost of tackling rising crime could be met by council taxpayers.

Following the government's announcement that precepts should be raised to fund police budgets, Hampshire and Isle of Wight police and crime commissioner Michael Lane has asked residents how much more they would be prepared to pay.

Police forces are due to receive the same amount of government funding during the forthcoming financial year that they received this year — but only if council tax is raised by the maximum 1.99 per cent.

Even with that maximum increase, however, Mr Lane said rising costs meant Hampshire Constabulary faced a £10 million black hole in its budget.

Demand for police services has increased on the Island, where the number of recorded violent crimes, sexual offences, house burglaries and hate crimes all increased significantly last year.

Speaking in the Commons last month, policing minister Nick Hurd said commissioners could plug shortfalls by raising the police precept by £1 a month for a Band D household.

Mr Lane welcomed the move, but said it was up to residents whether they were willing to pay extra.

He has launched a survey seeking their views, at

He said: "I'm delighted the minister has recognised the need for flexibility. This has given me the option of increasing the amount paid for policing by £1 pound a month, or £12 pounds a year, for an average household. This would help maintain and restore policing in certain areas to the levels our communities are asking for and the levels we need - as I'm advised by the chief constable - to keep us safer from the greatest risks of harm.

"I am keen to hear from council tax payers the level of contribution they are willing to make.

"The announcement is good news. It is progress, is not the end of the journey. These are short term measures but they do deal with options for the next couple of years. In the longer term, I plan to continue to fight for a nationally fairer funding formula."