Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner proposes 150 more frontline officers to boost local policing
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, is proposing an average £12 increase in council tax to provide 150 more frontline officers for Essex Police.
Mr Hirst, said: “On behalf of the people of Essex I have been working hard with the Home Office to secure new funding for policing both in Essex and nationally. Late last year, we successfully secured £450 million for policing nationally and a further commitment for more new funding in 2019-2020.”
As part of this settlement, locally elected Police and Crime Commissioners are able to increase the policing element of local Council Tax by up to £12, or £1 per month for a (Band D) property. On the 22nd of January, Mr Hirst, The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, will be proposing a £12 increase to the local Police, Fire and Crime Panel.
Mr Hirst added “It is clear from every public meeting that I attend and from the many officers and members of the public that I talk to, that people want more police officers in their local areas and are prepared to pay to see them.
“I promised in my election manifesto to focus on more local, visible policing and I am determined to deliver on this and help to create the safe and secure communities people want and deserve.
Mr Hirst’s proposal will result in:
- Essex Police being able to recruit 150 more frontline officers focused overwhelmingly in local policing teams (bringing the total number of officers to at least 3000 by the end of 2018-2019)
- Three quarters of all additional money raised through the police element of local Council Tax will being invested in local policing
- A district by district plan showing communities where the extra investment will go
In a recent public survey carried out by Mr Hirst, approximately two thirds (65%) of people said they would be prepared to see the police element of local Council Tax increased by more than 2% so that more money could be made available for policing in Essex. Three-quarters (75%) of people who gave a view said they were prepared to contribute an additional £10 more per year to invest in policing and the majority of people said they were prepared to contribute over £20.
Mr Hirst said: “Essex Police has had the lowest funding per resident of any force in the country. My proposal to increase the police element of Council Tax by £11.97 for a band D property, which is just £1 per month, will help us respond to the changing nature of crime and provide more local, visible and accessible policing.”
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner proposed budget for 2018-2019 is £277.429 million funded approximately two thirds by Government grant and one third local Council Tax. The proposed increase is a 7.62% rise in the police element of local Council Tax, equivalent to an increase of £11.97 a year from £157.05 to £169.02 for a Band D property, raising an additional £7.524 million.
Essex Police has also identified a further £3.5 million in potential savings by working more efficiently and this money will be reinvested back into the force.
These investments are part of a comprehensive transformation programme currently being delivered by Essex Police that includes investment in new technology, in training and development and in modern, fit for purpose stations.
Mr Hirst said: “Overall demand for policing is increasing. Local officers, detectives, specialist teams, PCSOs and police staff are all working hard to keep Essex safe. This new funding will enable the Chief Constable to provide vital new officers. They will be joining one of the most efficient forces in the country as assessed by Her Majesty’s Inspectors. We will continue to look for ways to improve efficiency and provide a better service for the people of Essex.”
The precept increase will be proposed at the meeting of the Police, Fire and Crime Panel taking place on Monday, January 22 at 2pm at Essex County Hall.