ARE you willing to pay more Council Tax to increase levels of policing in Essex? That’s the question being asked by Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.
Essex residents are being asked to fill in an online survey so Mr Hirst can gauge the public’s view on whether or not they would be happy to pay more, so more resources can be invested in policing across the county.
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 lowest funding per resident of any police force in the country and has the sixth lowest council tax for policing.
Mr Hirst said: “I want to provide the best service possible for the people of Essex and increasing investment will help me deliver this. I’m not expecting any increase in central Government funding for this year but I can raise the police precept. However, before I make that decision I want to know what the views of the public are so I can take them into account.”
He added: “At every public meeting I attend I hear that the residents want more police on the streets and whilst both Essex Police and I are doing everything we can to make that happen, we don’t have the money or resources to deliver it in the best way that we want to. The demand on the police service is rising. New crime types are emerging and existing crime is rising in its complexity, this is against a backdrop of an unprecedented shift in the national security environment. My question to the public is this – do they want to pay more for those extra resources?”
People can fill in the survey online via this link http://surveys.essexinsight.org.uk/policeprecept
They can also find out more about the survey by searching for #yourviews on social media. The survey will be live from 1am on Monday, November 6 close at midnight on Sunday, November 19.
Earlier this year the Council Tax for policing was increased by 3.25 per cent. That meant the average Band D property paid £4.95 more per year. This raised an additional investment of £3.1 million. This additional investment helped to fund:
• The first phase of a programme to double the number of Special Constables to 700 by 2019.
• Increasing the number of police officers to 2,850, an increase of 41 officers for regular front line policing, for the Serious Crime Directorate and for additional firearm officers.
• Improving accessibility by adding 15 additional police staff in the Force Control Room to manage additional demand and improve the 101 contact service.
• Investment in dealing with digital and cybercrime and online fraud, to help tackle gangs and organised crime.
• Investment in the technology that supports the Mobile First Programme, increasing what officers can do via their smartphones on patrol, freeing up time to offer additional support to communities and improving performance management.
The Band D council tax for policing in Essex for 2017/18 is £157.05.
The members of the Police, Fire and Crime Panel have approved this survey and the results will be fed back to them.