Creating safe communities, protecting the vulnerable and getting crime down – PFCC budget for 2024-2025 endorsed by Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel
Posted Thursday 1st February
Essex Police is now the biggest and strongest it has ever been in its 184-year history and this year’s budget aims to maintain this investment in community safety.
The budget, proposed by Roger Hirst. Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) and today endorsed by the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel, will allow more police officers to be visible in communities across the county, following an increase of 905 officers added to the force since 2016.
The budget will also allow Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to drive forward its improvement programme which includes more protection and prevention services and excellent firefighter training. The increase will also ensure firefighters and staff are properly paid.
All this will be achieved by a combined precept increase which will cost a Band D property 30p a week.
Roger Hirst said: “Our investment programme in Essex Police is working. Since 2016 anti-social behaviour is down 71.3% and incidents of burglary are down 43%. In the last year, total crime is down by 5.7%.
“At the core of our approach, what has worked over the last eight years, is visible policing at the heart of our communities. Our communities deserve to live in safe neighbourhoods where police are not strangers but visible, responsive and working with local businesses, groups and neighbourhoods to identify and tackle crime and ASB.
“We know the current financial situation is difficult and both services are facing significant increases due to a high inflation rate. My proposal continues our investment in the services while ensuring Essex residents get good value for money.
“Both services have identified ways to save money and be more efficient without reducing the number of officers, firefighters, staff or their overall capability. Both services have identified combined savings of £10.4 million in the year 2024/25.
The PFCC budget means a Band D Council Taxpayer will pay an extra £12.96 per year for policing and an extra £2.34 a year for fire and rescue services – a combined increase of less than £1.28 per month or 30p a week.
(£12.96 + £2.34 = £15.30. £15.30 divided by 12 months = £1.275. £15.30 divided by 52 weeks = approximately 30p a week)
Essex Police precept
The PFCC is increasing the police precept by 5.55 per cent, equivalent to an increase of £12.96 a year, from £233.46 to £246.42 for a Band D property, raising an additional £8.695 million of council tax receipts.
Roger Hirst said: “It is clear from my public engagements, our independent public survey, the recent precept survey, and feedback from partners across Essex that the public want to see further reductions in crime. They also want to see investment in:
- tackling gang and drug related violence,
- combating serious and organised crime,
- improved local neighbourhood policing to target burglary and vehicle theft,
- bringing down anti-social behaviour,
- reducing violence against women and girls and
- breaking the cycle of domestic abuse.
“They want to see crime prevented, the vulnerable protected and victims supported.
“We recognise the need to deliver on the public’s desire to see further reductions in crime and the challenging financial situation many of our communities face. The budget provides a balanced and proportionate response that reflects the financial challenges we face as a society but also the importance of ensuring we deliver for the public by continuing to get crime down.”
Mr Hirst added: “To create safe and secure communities there is still more to do.
“Crime must fall further and we need to target rape and sexual assault, robbery and the surge in vehicle thefts and shoplifting.”
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service Precept
The PFCC is increasing the Fire and Rescue precept by 2.91%, equivalent to an increase of £2.34 a year, from £80.28 to £82.62 for a Band D property, raising an additional £1.5m of council tax receipts.
This increase in the Fire and Rescue Service Precept will help the service to continue to drive forward its improvement programme which includes protection and prevention services and excellent firefighter training. The proposal will also allow the service to recruit around 150 firefighters in the next year.
Roger Hirst said: “Our Fire and Rescue Service has made strong progress in recent years, improving the training provided to firefighters, investing in protection services and preventing harm. Continuing this investment will help the Service to continue to reduce the risk to the public and property across Essex.”
The PFCC ran a public precept survey between Tuesday 31st October 2023 to Tuesday 5th December 2023. The results from the survey were:
- 2,128 people responded to the survey.
- 73 percent, who gave a view, wanted to see more investment in policing.
- 67 percent, who gave a view, said they would be prepared to invest more in policing.
- 66 percent of people who gave a view said they were prepared to contribute up to £10 per year or more to invest in policing.
- 52 percent of people who gave a view said they would be prepared to invest up to £15 per year or more in policing.
- 64 per cent who gave a view said they would be prepared to invest up to £5 per year or more in Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.