ESSEX residents will see significant extra neighbourhood policing, including more officers in town centres, as part of increased investment in policing in the county over the next year.
The significant growth in officers has been confirmed following the endorsement of the Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service budget by the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel and its agreement to the proposed increases in Council Tax Precept.
The budget, proposed by Chief Constable BJ Harrington and set by Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, will result in a further 200 officers being recruited by Essex Police to help prevent crime, tackle violence and improve visible policing in our communities.
The extra officers will take the total size of the force to 3,755 officers by March 2023 a growth of 900 officers since 2016.
The funding for the extra officers will come from a combination of increased central government funding and an increase in the policing precept of the Council Tax by 4.79 per cent or £9.99 per year on a Band D property.
The Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel have also agreed Mr Hirst’s proposal for a two per cent increase to the fire and rescue precept or £1.44 increase on a Band D property. This rise will cover inflationary cost pressures on Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, while also allowing the Service to continue to invest in its protection programme, recruit on-call firefighters and ensure continued effective delivery of its training programme.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “Nobody wants crime in their community and by investing in Essex Police, building a strong force that is better connected than ever with their communities we can get crime down.
“We have shown that by focusing investment on front line, visible policing we can reduce anti-social behaviour, burglary, theft and neighbourhood crime. We are working hard to reduce drug driven violence , domestic abuse and violence against women and girls, and need to see all crime coming down across Essex.
“The increase in officers within this budget will allow Essex Police to do even more to prevent crime, have stronger neighbourhood policing and a clear focus on tackling drug driven violence and gangs. It will also help us support the victims of crime and protect those most vulnerable from becoming victims.”
He added: “The budget for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service will allow the service to continue its development programme focusing on improving its Fire Protection Capability, building capacity to effectively prevent fires, investing in training resources for our firefighters and recruiting and retaining our on-call firefighters.”
The budget was endorsed by the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel which met on Thursday, February 3rd. The meeting minutes are published here:
The main points are:
200 more police officers, taking the force up to 3,755 officers by March 2023 the largest it’s ever been
Of those extra officers:
- 68 will be focused on tackling violence in all forms including violence against women and girls, domestic abuse and drug driven violence
- 78 will concentrate on crime prevention work and being visible in communities including boosting town centre and community policing teams
- 44 will focus on investigating crime and building a more professional force
- 10 will support the Regional Organised Crime Unit
There will also be more than 70 police staff roles supporting the areas above.
An increase of the policing element of the council tax precept of £9.99 per year for a Band D property, or 4.79 per cent, taking the cost to £218.52.
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service
The additional investment will allow Essex County Fire and Rescue Services to manage inflationary pressures and continue to invest in improving its service to the public, including:
- Fire Protection Capacity to provide an effective response to the increased risk identified in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry,
- Investing in prevention activity
- Improved training provision and resources for firefighters
- Recruiting and retaining on-call firefighters
An increase of the fire and rescue element of the council tax precept of £1.44 per year for a Band D property, or 1.95 per cent, taking the cost to £75.33.