A HAMPSHIRE police chief says he wants to increase tax by the maximum amount next year.

But county policing boss Michael Lane says he wants the green light from residents first.

The Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner says slapping an extra £12-a-year on every council tax bill will help “maintain and restore” areas of the force.

It comes as the Home Office announced an extra £450 million to help fund policing across the country.

However, half of that money will come from a relaxation of the current £5-year tax increase cap.

This will allow and crime commissioners to increase their precept, paid as part of the annual council tax bill, by a maximum of £12.

But before implementing the increase, Mr Lane says he wants to hear the views of the county’s residents first. The deadline for feedback is January 22.

And he’s now launched a survey asking residents if they are happy to stump up the extra money.

He said: “I’m delighted that the Minister (of state, Nick Hurd) has recognised the need for flexibility in the precept local tax setting powers that a police and crime commissioner should have.

“This gives me the option of increasing the amount paid for policing by £1 pound a month for an average household, if that is something that I would wish to exercise on residents behalf and that they would wish me to.

“This increase would help to maintain and restore policing in certain areas to the levels that our communities are asking for and – as I’m advised professionally by the Chief Constable – to keep us all safer from the greatest threats and risks of harm.”

He added: “I am keen to hear from our council tax payers the level of contribution they are willing to make.

“The survey is part of how I will ensure I hear the voices of Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, and Southampton residents and the results will help me to set this year’s precept.”

Launched earlier this week and due to close on January 22, the survey asks if residents would be happy to pay more tax in order to maintain levels of policing.

It also asks how much more residents would be willing to pay for policing - with an extra £75-per-year being the highest option.

As previously reported in the Echo, John Apter Chairman, Hampshire Police Federation, said he too would support the maximum rise, but through “gritted teeth”.

He said the increase, which would raise an extra £10 million for police funding next year, would be a “financial lifeline” to the Hampshire policing.

Hampshire Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney added: “In light of the greater flexibility for local funding, I am looking forward to seeing the outcome of the current public consultation.”