HARLOW residents and businesses will see more investment in policing over the next year claims the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
Members of the Police, Fire and Crime Panel have agreed the budget for policing and fire and rescues services recommended by Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.
Mr Hirst is keeping the increase in the precepts to a minimum to reduce the financial impact on the public. However, there will still be funds for 184 more police officers to enable Essex Police to keep people safe, prevent crime and catch criminals.
To continue to deliver the level of policing residents want, it is necessary to increase the policing element of the council tax by 4.98 per cent, equivalent to £9.90 a year for a Band D property.
This is less than the maximum increase permitted but the minimum required to continue Essex Police’s programme of growth. There will not be an increase in the Fire and Rescue element of council tax, there is not the same urgent need for an increase as investment for the service will be met from current reserves.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said:
“As a country we are under intense financial pressure, and every penny we spend needs to make a difference. We also need to set out clearly what the public can expect to see as a result of this extra funding.
“I have been through the budgets for both services with the Chief Officers and am convinced that today’s support for my budget proposals will get the result we want. We have also continued to improve the efficiency of both services and the Essex Police budget alone includes £3.5m additional efficiency savings that will be reinvested in the frontline.
“These budgets mean that Essex will be an even safer and more secure county and will help deliver the services that the public want and that are set out as priorities in both my Police and Crime Plan and Fire and Rescue Plan.
“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic it is more vital than ever that we continue to support our emergency services. This investment in policing will continue to push back crime and creates the safe and secure communities that are the bedrock on which communities flourish and businesses grow and prosper. The police and fire and rescue services are essential to creating the environment we all need and where we can build back better and stronger than ever before.
“Over the last few years, we have provided the funding to enable Essex Police to recruit more than 500 extra officers. These officers have strengthened our response to serious violence, exploitation and gangs, they have transformed our community policing teams, introduced Town Centre Teams, the Rural Crime Team and the Business Crime Team and shifted the focus of policing in our county from managing demand to proactively preventing crime.
This has resulted in significant reductions in burglary, theft and anti-social behaviour and early signs that we are successfully fighting back against the scourge of violent crime in our communities. It is working. This budget will take that increase to over 700 additional officers.
“We know times are tough, so we are not using all the precept increase permitted for policing or increasing the precept for the fire and rescue service. We will use the proportion we need, so we can continue our fight to push down crime and create the communities we all need to prosper.”
The budget was agreed by the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel which met on Thursday, February 4th. The meeting minutes are published here: https://cmis.essex.gov.uk/essexcmis5/CalendarofMeetings/tabid/73/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/410/Meeting/4817/Committee/127/Default.aspx
The main points are:
184 more police officers, taking the force up to 3,553 FTE officers – an overall growth of 703 police officers since May 2016, all working in communities to keep people safe
Of those extra officers –30 will be part of a serious violence team – doubling the size of the existing team targeting County Lines and drug gangs, 22 officers will form a domestic abuse problem solving team, working with repeat victims and perpetrators to break the cycle of domestic abuse, 14 officers for a proactive domestic team to work alongside current domestic abuse investigation teams, 14 officers to work within an offender management team, focussed on preventing harm caused by sexual offenders.
There will also be three extra dog handlers, the creation of district policing area disruption teams plus increased support to the major crime team, people trafficking, modern slavery, road crime, organised crime, missing persons, crime prevention, firearms, professional standards, driver training, taser training plus investment in data protection, IT systems and a federation officer to support officers.
An increase of the policing element of the council tax precept of 4.98 per cent. Meaning an increase of £9.90 per year for a Band D property taking the cost to £208.53.
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has not increased the precept, therefore the precept on a Band D property is to remain at £73.89. This is in recognition of the impact of the current economic climate resulting from the COVID pandemic and our intention not to place any further financial burden on the residents of Essex.
However, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service will continue to work on the priorities within the Fire and Rescue Plan and will do this by continuing to make best use of existing resources. This will enable key investments to go ahead in:
Fire protection in response to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry
Operational training for firefighters
Learning and development of service staff
On- call recruitment and improving retention
ICT – updating systems and hardware to improve productivity and connectivity.