Essex police and crime commissioner proposes council tax increase to fund additional resources

PUBLISHED: 12:04 19 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:04 19 January 2017

Roger Hirst

Roger Hirst

Archant

The Police and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, has proposed a 3.25 per cent increase in the Essex Police component of council tax, equivalent to £4.95 per year for a band D property.

The additional money will go to fund extra resources outlined in the recently published Police and Crime Plan, including an increase in officers, the doubling of the special constable programme and improvements in the 101 public contact system.

Mr Hirst said: “As I have gone out and met people from across our county, I have consistently heard that people want more local, visible and accessible policing.

“This proposal delivers a range of tangible investments that will help meet these expectations and make it absolutely clear what the people of Essex will be getting for their money.

“Essex police is a very lean force and have the lowest expenditure per resident of any police force in England and Wales.

“Essex also has one of the lowest council tax precepts for policing in the country and central government funding for policing remains constrained.

“My proposal to increase the police proportion of council tax by £4.95 for a band D property, which is less than 10p per week, will help us respond to the changing nature of crime and provide more local, visible and accessible policing.”

Essex Police says the additional £3.1 million raised through the proposed increase will help fund a number of programmes, including:

– The first phase of a programme to double the number of special constables to 700 by 2019.

– Increasing the number of police officers to 2,850, an increase of 41 officers for regular front-line policing, for the Serious Crime Directorate and for additional firearm officers.

– Improving accessibility by adding 15 additional police staff in the force control room to manage additional demand and improve the 101 contact service.

– Investment in dealing with digital and cybercrime and online fraud, to help tackle gangs and organised crime.

– Investment in the technology that supports the mobile first programme, increasing what officers can do via their smartphones on patrol, freeing up time to offer additional support to communities and improving performance management.

– This further investment is part of a comprehensive transformation programme currently being delivered by Essex Police. This includes investment in new technology, in training and development and in modern, fit for purpose stations.

Mr Hirst added: “Essex Police has been assessed by HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies) to be a force which uses money wisely and has strong leadership in place at all levels.

“But the size and make-up of our county mean that Essex Police has more 999 calls and deals with more victim-based crime than average.

“Over the last six years we have had made a number of tough decisions to identify savings of over £74 million and carefully prioritise where we need to invest the resources we have.”

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