MP for Saffron Walden welcomes increase in police share of tax bill
PUBLISHED: 08:25 30 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:53 30 January 2019
The policing element of Council Tax will increase by 14 per cent after proposals by the police, fire and crime commissioner for Essex were approved.
Members of the police, fire and crime panel met on Thursday (January 24) to approve Roger Hirst’s financial plans to “boost Essex Police’s finances” by raising the policing element of the Council Tax precept.
This will enable the chief constable to recruit an additional 215 police officers over the next year to focus on visible, frontline policing.
Mr Hirst is going to increase the policing element of the Council Tax by £24 a year for the average household, the maximum permitted by government without a referendum.
This will mean that the average band ‘D’ property will pay £192.96 for policing in a year, an increase of £2 per month. The current levy is £169.02 per year.
In relation to the budget for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, Mr Hirst has also been given the green light to increase the precept by £2.07 a year, resulting in a rise from £70.38 to £72.45 for a band ‘D’ Council Tax property.
Mr Hirst said: “Any increase in tax has an impact and I do not take the decision to increase precepts for both police and fire and rescue services lightly. However, I have heard the feedback from the public about the improvements we need to make and this money will make a real difference.
“People across the county have been telling me that they want more police officers and that they are prepared to pay more to get them. Now that my budget has been approved it will mean the chief constable will be able to bring police officers numbers to 3,200 by March next year which will get Essex Police near where it needs to be and deal with the level of demand.”
Kemi Badenoch, the MP for Saffron Walden, has welcomed the news.
She said: “I’ve been lobbying hard to get more officers for Uttlesford and Braintree as I know this is a matter of concern for so many of us. We want to see a more visible police presence in our communities.
“I am very pleased that this measure has been approved and Essex Police will get 215 front-line officers. This is in addition to the 150 officers that were recruited last year, who are already making a real difference.
“Policing is my biggest priority and I will continue to represent our constituency in Parliament, work with Essex MPs, our local police and the commissioner to make sure we build on this positive news and make the most of these extra officers.”