What is the role of the PFCC?
The PFCC has a number of statutory responsibilities which include;
- Setting the priorities for policing in the Police and Crime Plan and for fire and rescue services in the Fire and Rescue Plan
- Setting budgets and council tax precepts for policing and fire and rescue services
- Appointing and dismissing the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer
- Holding the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer to account for their services’ performance
- Regularly engaging with the public and local communities
- Allocating grants through the Community Safety Development Fund and commissioning local services
- Bringing together community safety partners to reduce crime, support victims of crime and keep people across Essex safe from harm
Does the PFCC cost more than the old police authority – former Police Authority?
The introduction of the PFCC role has created significant saving. The PFCC’s remuneration is £89,700 compared to the 17 Police Authority members who together received £235,000 per year. The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex has a significant and more extensive programme of work than the former Police Authority. The PFCC is responsible for ensuring effective and efficient policing across Essex, producing the Police and Crime Plan, setting the policing budget, commissioning victims services, distributing community safety grants, engaging with the public, holding the chief constable to account and a wide range of other public facing responsibilities.
This means the office for the PFCC is delivering a much more extensive programme of work, is better connected to the people of Essex and better able to deliver support and challenge to the police to enable improvement.
Does the PFCC cost more than the old fire authority?
Since October 2017 the Commissioner has also undertaken governance of the Fire and Rescue Service in Essex. The cost of this service prior to joint governance was £400,000. Since joint governance the cost has reduced to £200,000 allowing the other £200,000 to be reinvested in the Service.
How is the PFCC accountable to the public?
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner as an elected representative of the people is ultimately accountable to the public through a democratic election held once every four years. On top of this accountability the PFCC’s decisions are also scrutinised by the Police, Fire and Crime Panel whose members are elected councillors from all of the tier one and tier two councils in Essex. There are also a number of lay members.
How can I contact the PFCC?
The PFCC holds a variety of public meetings across the county, has an active Facebook page and Twitter account but also welcomes public correspondence. The details of upcoming events and contacts details can be found at www.essex.pfcc.police.uk
What are the PFCC’s priorities?
The PFCC has seven priorities which are spelt out in the Police and Crime Plan.
- More Local, visible and accessible policing
- Cracking down on anti-social behaviour
- Breaking the cycle of domestic abuse
- Tackling gangs and serious violence
- Disrupting and preventing organised crime
- Protecting children and vulnerable people from harm
- Improving safety on our roads
The Priorities in the Fire and Rescue Plan are:
- Prevention, protection and response
- Collaborate with our partners
- Develop and broaden the roles and range of activities undertaken by the Service
- Improve safety on our roads
- Promote a positive culture in the workplace
- Be transparent, open and accessible
- Help the vulnerable to stay safe
- Make best use of our resources
Is crime going up?
We’ve seen a reduction in recorded crime over the last year, with over 9,000 fewer offences recorded and, importantly, fewer victims of crime between September 2019 and September 2020, compared to the year before. Even before COVID we were seeing significant reductions in burglary, theft and anti-social behaviour.
Is crime changing and how?
We have invested heavily in local, accessible and visible policing, have reduced anti-social behaviour, helped protect vulnerable children and adults from harm and reduced serious harm on our roads working with our partners at the Safer Essex Roads Partnership. We are tackling gangs and organised crime as well as helping to break the cycle of domestic abuse. Together we have made significant progress against the priorities you told us you wanted Essex Police to focus on and we know we need to do more to reduce domestic abuse, violence in our communities and drug driven violence.
How much does policing in Essex cost?
The total overall budget to fund policing and crime reduction work in Essex amounts to £318,492,000 for the 2020/2021 financial year.
Funding for Essex Police comes from two sources, central government funding and local council tax. Taking these two funding sources into account Essex Police receives the second lowest funding per resident of any police force in the country and has one of the lowest council tax precepts for policing.
Over the last three years, we have secured substantially more Government funding for policing and with residents support have been able to increase funds locally to increase the number of police officers.
How much do fire and rescue services in Essex cost?
The total overall budget for 2020/2021 financial year is £74,861,000.
The fire and rescue service in Essex does not have the same level of need for investment as Essex Police but does face several challenges including providing fire protection that can respond to the outcomes of the Grenfell Tower inquiry, training needs and continuous on-call firefighter recruitment.
What is the PFCC doing about increasing police officer numbers?
By March 2021 there will be 519 more officers in Essex than there were in 2018, – 384 of them as a result of the increase in the local Council Tax precept and efficiencies achieved by Essex Police, and 135 from the national police uplift programme.
Taking into account recent investments in technology and improved efficiency this will make Essex Police as strong as it has ever been
How can I get involved?
Empowering communities to support themselves is a big part of modern community safety and there are a huge range of activities that communities can get involved in. These range from Neighbourhood Watch, Speed Watch and Rural Watch through to more involved activities such as becoming Active Citizens, Police Cadets or Special Constables who have all the powers and training of a full time police constables. To find out more about the opportunities to work with Essex Police please visit their website https://www.essex.police.uk/.
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is also recruiting on-call firefighters at many of its stations. Go to www.essex-fire.gov.uk to find out more.