I read with interest that the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has admitted he cannot cope with the budget which has been afforded to him by his own Tory government. Something that doesn’t come as a huge surprise to many of us.
If Roger Hurst wants to increase the police precept by more than the 2% he has already done, something I agreed with him on, he would be forced to have a referendum. This was incidentally something we both agreed during our hustings last year would be not only hugely costly but also a waste of time as across Essex people are unlikely to vote to voluntarily raise taxes. In fact a rise in taxation in this way would be unfair as they would apply as a blanket tax across society hitting those on lower incomes disproportionately more.
His plan to put out a questionnaire, presumably as a prelude to a possible referendum is also flawed. The questionnaire is online and many residents will not have the facility to do so. I suspect the percentage of voters across Essex who do fill it in will be very small and not reflect the views of all the residents in Essex.
I notice also that Amber Rudd has openly criticised her own parties police commissioners for suggesting such action. Is this the Tory government’s attempt to claim they are not behind potential tax rises. It is the Tory cuts which are leading to Commissioners such as Hurst being forced to make such a decision?
If we really want to see more police on the streets across Thurrock then we need to see more funding to Essex Police Force coming from central government. It should be paid for by a progressive tax system where the wealthier members in the society, those that can afford it, pay a little bit more. The Tory Party, who have claimed for a long time to be the Party who support the Police, have shown with systematic cuts to policing across the country, including Essex, that they are nothing of the sort. As Home Secretary Thersea May oversaw many of those cuts which have left police numbers stretched and the Officers themselves over worked and undervalued. Only Labour will ensure there are more police on our streets.
Labour PCC Candidate for Essex in 2016′