GLOUCESTERSHIRE'S Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl will ask the county's police and crime panel to increase council tax by two per cent when it meets today, Wednesday.

Mr Surl says the increase is needed to raise an extra £900,000 to protect frontline policing from the impact of central Government cuts, which will be introduced in the coming years.

The proposed increase is almost half the 3.9 per cent which the now disbanded police authority was originally planning.

It will add an extra £3.99 to the annual bill for a Band D property or eight pence a week.

"If we introduce a freeze, we won't be able to absorb the cuts the Government expects us to make in the future which could affect frontline services and our ability to reduce crime and increase peace and good order in the county," said Mr Surl.

"I want to take a sensible view to longer term planning and would rather have a policy of invest to save, than incur even greater losses later on."

The former superintendent, who has responsibility for deciding how to spend the force's £105 million budget, has been consulting with the public, businesses and other interest groups about the council tax rise.

"It would have been nice to have had more time after the election to consult wider and for longer but the timing of both was out of my hands," he said.

"Having consulted with partners, businesses and the wider public - albeit in the limited time at my disposal - there was no overwhelming support or objection to either a freeze or a council tax rise.

In line with promises made during the election, Mr Surl said an additional £2 million had been set aside this year to fund initiatives with partner organisations to reduce crime and bring more peace and good order to the county.

He added: "After a thorough examination of the finances, I believe that we are in a position where, with sensible planning, we can achieve our goal of a safer Gloucestershire."