Police element of council tax bill to increase

Roger Hirst proposed to increase police share of Council Tax.

Roger Hirst proposed to increase police share of Council Tax. - Credit: Archant

The crime commissioner for Essex Police says a council tax increase of nearly £10 will ensure the police service is there to help the country “build back when this pandemic is over”.

Of the 184 officers planned to be recruited over the next year, 132 are to be paid for by central Government.

A further 52 officers are to be funded from an increase in the police and fire precept of £9.90 – from £198 in 2020/21 to £208 in 2021/22, raising an extra £6.4 million.

The increase in cost of the policing element of the council tax precept is 4.98 percent, which is an increase of £9.90 per year for a Band D property taking the cost to £208.53.

Essex Fire’s precept is staying the same –  £73.89 for a Band D household.

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The budget was agreed by the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel which met on Thursday (February 4).

Of the extra police officers, 30 will be part of a serious violence team – doubling the size of the existing team targeting County Lines and drug gangs, and 22 officers will form a domestic abuse problem solving team, working with repeat victims and perpetrators to break the cycle of domestic abuse. There will be 14 officers for a proactive domestic team to work alongside current domestic abuse investigation teams, and 14 officers to work within an offender management team, focussed on preventing harm caused by sexual offenders.

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There will also be three extra dog handlers, the creation of district policing area disruption teams plus increased support to the major crime team, people trafficking, modern slavery, road crime, organised crime, missing persons, crime prevention, firearms, professional standards, driver training, taser training plus investment in data protection, IT systems and a federation officer to support officers.

Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst said “this a very difficult decision this year”.

He explained:  “We are in the middle of a programme of bolstering Essex Police and we know what we need to do.

“So far the programme has been a success as we do it stage by stage. We needed to start bringing crime down before the pandemic hit.

“It’s working.

“But we know we have a lot more to do – particularly around knife driven violence, serious drug violence and domestic abuse and this is where the investments are going to go.

“Equally, at the same, we have the issue of the consequences of the pandemic which of course, economically is really tough.

“I think the thing which really needs emphasis is the emergency services – policing in particular has a role to play in helping us build back when this pandemic is over.

“At the end of March 2022, Essex Police plans to have an officer establishment of 3,553 officers. This will mean that Essex Police will have grown by 703 police officers since May 2016.”

Essex Police could have imposed as much as a £15 increase on a band D property.

Mr Hirst added:  “We know that during this lockdown crime has changed shape – shoplifting and pub brawls haven’t been happening because those places have been closed. But there is a lot going on in terms of abuse.

“There are a lot of kids who rely on schools for their support and who have not been getting it. We need to be out there for our youth services supporting them.

“I don’t think we have a choice to back off – we just need to shape it and make sure there is focus where there needs to be focus.”

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