CUMBRIA'S police and crime commissioner has pledged to tell the Government that he does not want to over tax residents in the county to pay for more police officers.

Peter McCall, the Conservative PCC, has levied council tax increases for two years on the bounce to pay for 50 more officers to join the ranks - putting £24 on the average bill in 2018-19 and adding £12 for 2019-20 .

Mr McCall, based at police headquarters in Penrith, plans to tell policing minister Kit Malthouse that a third above inflation council tax increase to pay for more police during 2020-21 is not on the cards.

Mr McCall said: "I do plan to write to the policing minister welcoming the continuity in Government and accepting that while Brexit is the first priority, I will be trying to set a budget in April 2020 for 2020-21. I do not want to go back to the public and ask for another above inflation council tax increase."

"I believe another above inflation rise of between two and 2.5 per cent is not something I am prepared to do."

His statement still leaves the door open for the police's share of council tax bills to go up, but nowhere near anything approaching inflation.

Cumbria expects to get a further 51 new police officers in post by next summer as a result of plans announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel to recruit 20,000 more police nationwide - which critics said only replaces numbers to those lost during the decade of austerity.

But Mr McCall, who intends to stand for re-election in May 2020 after his four-year term comes to an end, hopes that Cumbria could get a further 90 to 100 more on top of next summer's 51, under the 'Boris bobbies' programme. That would see the county surpass the highest number of officers it has ever had, he said, which once stood at 1,230.

"The big challenge is getting our share of officers against the rest of the Metropolitan forces who will be fighting for the lion's share, but it is something I am prepared to strongly argue for. With the extra officers I have recruited here, it has led to more than 700 arrests that simply would not have happened without them. We have made in-roads into County Lines, the community hubs are taking effect and we have seen some really good work done to reduce anti-social behaviour in places such as Workington and Whitehaven."