England

Avon and Somerset Police budget cut options laid out

Police officer
Image caption Avon and Somerset Police are facing a £15m budget cut

A number of budget options have been put forward to mitigate police officer cuts in Avon and Somerset.

Police commissioner Sue Mountstevens is asking people if they want the police share of the council tax bill to be frozen or increased by various amounts.

The increases range from 2% to 10%, but each choice would still necessitate some level of job losses.

Ms Mountstevens said: "If I got over 2%, I have to then go to referendum, to do that would cost £1m."

'Not naive'

The referendum costs would be paid by taxpayers in Avon and Somerset, she added.

The police force must find another £15m to fill a shortfall in funding over the next two years from its annual budget of £277m.

Cuts are being made as a result of the government's public spending review.

If people choose to freeze the police precept, this would mean more than 200 people losing their jobs at the force.

"I'm not naive to think this is the only thing that is going to go up - only yesterday rail costs were going (up) and a lot of people are on fixed salaries," said Ms Mounstevens.

"I want to listen to as many people as possible for them to tell me what they think they can afford."

The options being put forward are: a 2% increase (£3.36 extra a year), 4% (£6.72 extra), 6% (£10.08 extra), 8% (£13.44 extra) or 10% (£16.80 extra a year).

The consultation is due to finish at the end of September.

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