SOUNDS like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?

For the price of a lottery ticket a month, council taxpayers in Wiltshire could have 41 more police officers and two cyber-crime specialists.

We could certainly do with them, and I cannot seriously imagine that the tiny minority of the public who will take part in Angus Macpherson’s ‘consultation’ on the subject will say: “No thanks, we’ve got enough crimefighters already.”

Our Police and Crime Commissioner says: “If the public supports my proposal…” But this won’t be a referendum. It will be an online poll, of which the many people who do not read local newspapers may well be unaware.

And in reality, the result seems to be a foregone conclusion, already counted as part of the rise in funding for the force announced by the Home Office

In other words, it’s a centrally dictated tax rise given a figleaf of respectability via a ‘consultation’. And as with all across-the-board tax rises, some people can afford them more easily than others.

There are a lot of ‘consultations’ carried out by our authorities about stuff they’ve already decided to do. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to strengthen the thin blue line. I’m just saying don’t be fooled. Remember why we have to do it.

According to the Police Federation, the Wiltshire force has lost 250 officers since 2010 due to cuts.

This tax rise will replace about one-sixth of that number.

What it won’t replace is expertise and experience.

So on top of the tax rises we’ve had in recent years to support a substantially depleted force, there’ll now be a further tax rise to restore a tiny proportion of what we once took for granted.

I am sorry to sound so cynical, but Mr Macpherson represents the party that imposed these cuts in the first place.

And we’re supposed to be grateful that he’s noticed that the public want to see more police officers about the place.

He says: “The long distance between our communities puts added pressure on our resources, and I continue to lobby the government to give Wiltshire a fairer amount of the national funding pot.”

Well, blow me down! I take that to mean that he’s also understood how nutty it was to get rid of our custody facilities and send offenders miles away across the Plain.

A conversion on the road to Damascus? Well, maybe on the road to Melksham.

The tax rises won’t stop there, will they?

Before you know it, there’ll be a few quid here to prop up the NHS, a few quid there to prop up our struggling schools. All of which we’ll have to consider ourselves lucky to pay if it makes things work again.

And we still are lucky in the grand scheme of things, if you compare our lives with the plight of the poor devils being blown to smithereens by British-made weaponry half a world away.

As Clint Eastwood put it: You’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky?

At least if you spend your £2 on a lottery ticket you’ve got a chance of winning something.