Essex Police increases Council Tax precept by nearly 2%

PUBLISHED: 09:57 21 February 2014 | UPDATED: 09:57 21 February 2014

Essex's police and crime commissioner Nick Alston.

Essex's police and crime commissioner Nick Alston.

Archant

The portion of Council Tax used to fund policing and community safety in Essex will increase by 1.97 per cent.

Crime commissioner Nick Alston had initially proposed to increase Council Tax by 3.5 per cent – which would have been enough to generate funds equivalent to pay for 57 police officers – only to see it scuppered by a government-imposed cap at two per cent.

The revised hike, which equates to about 6p per week extra for a Band D property, was supported by 12 votes to three at the Police and Crime Panel meeting yesterday (Thursday).

Prior to yesterday’s panel meeting, Mr Alston claimed that Essex Police will face financial challenges during the coming year, which will “become even more serious in the following two years”.

He added: “I firmly believe the majority of people living in counties which, for historic reasons, contribute the least through Council Tax for their policing would be prepared to pay a little more to protect frontline policing.

“When compared with the other 35 shire forces in England and Wales, for 2013/14 the amount of Council Tax paid to fund policing services in our county was the fourth lowest in the country.”

Mr Alston said that he and Essex Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh were “determined to deliver the best possible policing” during the coming year, while “protecting the frontline and local policing wherever possible”.

“We are confident of building a safer Essex,” he added.

“But we are also determined to invest in the long-term development of Essex Police through encouraging the professional development of all officers and staff, adopting innovation and new technology, and building a strategic approach to the police property estate.”

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