Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Tory Essex crime commissioner raises prospect of 5% council tax increase to tackle crime

ESSEX’S Tory crime commissioner has raised the possibility of increasing the police precept by £10 per band D household – as the force aims to bring down crime across the county.

The Chancellor allowed for additional funding for crime commissioners – including Essex’s Roger Hirst – to put up the precept each year for the next three years by £10 on a band D property during the budget on Wednesday.

In Essex that would mean the policing element of the council tax precept for the average band D property rising to £218 in April next year.

The budget and any council tax levies have not been set yet but band D households were billed in 2021/22 for £208.53 following an increase of 4.98 per cent amounting to £9.90 per year.

The challenge facing Essex police has been detailed in its police and crime plan 2021/2024.

Between 2016/217 and 2020/21 all crime – including crimes such as stalking and harassment – has increased 22 per cent.

Violence with injury increased by four per cent, rape and sexual assault has increased by 57 per cent, drugs (possession and trafficking) has increased by 124 per cent.

However burglary decreased by 33 per cent, anti-social behaviour decreased by 15 per cent, theft has decreased by 30 per cent and people killed or seriously injured on Essex roads has reduced by 29 per cent.

Mr Hirst said: “The Government have said that there will be an increase in the level to which the council tax precept can be increased without need for a referendum and that will be £10 per annum for three years.

“For our level of band D council tax that is effectively five per cent.

“That is something that we do not have to do but have the freedom to do.

“That is certainly going to be something that leads to detail discussions around how we actually use that money to best effect.

“But we know we have to improve community safety, we know we have to complete that shift towards prevention, we know we have to get crime down.

“Because there have been too many crimes. We are not in a low crime environment.

“There will be places we wish to invest and I am very confident that we will wish to use at least a good chunk if not all of that precept freedom to make a difference for those living in this county.

“Certainly in previous years we have had good support for levels well ahead of a £10 increase per annum.

“We will be conducting a usual precept survey and will we use that as an input to this process.”

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