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Do you want to see an improved Police Service in Essex? And are you willing to pay more Council Tax to provide it? Those are the questions being asked by Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.
Essex residents are being asked to fill in a survey so Mr Hirst can see what the county’s opinion is on increasing resources for Essex Police. He also wants to know what they think about the policing priorities for Essex.
Funding for Essex Police comes from two sources – central Government 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. Next year we are also expecting significant additional costs from increases in police officer pay, higher insurance costs and changes to police officer pensions. There will also be costs as a result of extending the police’s Airwave radio system due to delays in the roll out of the National Emergency Services Communication Programme.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “I want to provide the best possible policing service, which is what the people of Essex rightly deserve. Increasing investment will help the Chief Constable deliver this. I am working hard to lobby the Government but we cannot yet know the scale of any increase in central Government funding. I can of course raise the policing precept. Before I do that I want to know what people think.”
Last year, Mr Hirst carried out a similar survey which received more than 5,000 responses. Approximately two thirds of the people who answered (65 per cent) said they would be prepared to see the police element of local Council Tax increased by more than two per cent so more money could be made available for policing in Essex. More than half were prepared to pay up to £20 more per year.
Mr Hirst said: “In light of the results from last year’s survey, I raised the policing element of the Council Tax by up to £12, or £1 a month, for a Band D property. This increase, as part of the £450 million in police funding secured nationally from the Government last year, allowed Essex Police to recruit 150 more frontline officers, bringing the total amount of Essex Police officers to at least 3,000. These additional officers are being recruited and trained and will be arriving in local communities by February 2019.”
He added: “Whilst filling the survey I would also like people to give their views on the policing priorities for Essex. I want to make sure that they reflect the needs of the communities that Essex Police serves.”
You can fill in the survey online via this link http://www.essex.pfcc.police.uk/policing-precept-survey-2018/
Hard copies are also available on request. Please contact the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner on 01245 291600 if you would like a copy or you can email [email protected]. You can also write to PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB.
The survey will be live until midnight on Tuesday, November 27.