ESSEX Police’s portion of council tax is set to increase by almost £15 for an average home – without which “hard-fought gains are at risk”.
It means a band D household will see an increase of 6.84 percent – equivalent to an increase of £14.94 from £218.52 from April.
This will raise almost £10 million of council tax receipts to be used mostly on ensuring new recruits have the training needed before they are sent out on patch.
Chief Constable BJ Harrington, in a letter to the crime commissioner for Essex Roger Hirst, said: “In developing this proposal, I am keenly aware that the request for an increase in local taxation at a time when people’s finances are under pressure may seem unrealistic.
“Equally the additional monies will not see a substantial head count increase. However, I must stress that the external cost pressures on Essex Police are extensive and that we have, through our ambitious and successful savings and efficiency programme, utilised every penny of additional investment to good effect.
“Consolidating our growth with a hugely committed, but inexperienced workforce (40 per cent of Essex Police officers have less than five years of service) and continuing to grow our capability to continue to reduce crime, to bring justice for victims and of course further build community confidence in Essex Police is essential and without additional funding as set out these hard-fought gains are at risk.”
Since 2018 the number of officers has increased from 2,950 in 2017/18 to its current level of 3,755 – the highest it has ever been paid for by consecutive increases in council tax from a level in 2017/2018 of £157.05 for a band D home.
Mr Harrington said: “This budget proposal focuses on consolidating the investment and resource we have received and recruited, deploying the additional officers and technology to more visible, more accessible, and more consistent policing. This includes providing training and support to develop the experience required to continue the excellent work of keeping the people of Essex safe.
” Investment in supervisors to provide first class support, guidance and development to the incoming officers is essential, and will be achieved through training and continuous professional development whilst ensuring continued professionalism, support and leadership across the force.”