Have your say on paying for policing and fire and rescue services

What are your thoughts on paying for policing and fire rescue services in Essex? Do you want more investment in the services and what are your priorities? These are the questions being asked by Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.

He is asking Essex residents for their opinion before he sets out plans for the 2022/2023 policing and fire and rescue services budget for the county.

They can fill in a survey here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/PFCCPreceptSurvey/ to give their views

Funding for Essex Police comes from two sources, central government funding and local council tax. Taking these two funding sources into account Essex Police receives the second lowest funding per resident of any police force in the country and has one of the lowest council tax precepts for policing.

Funding for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) comes from central government, local council tax and business rates. There was no increase in the precept for ECFRS last year.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “We want to see less crime in Essex. With your support, we have invested in Essex Police. By March 2022, there will be more than 700 more police in Essex than there were in 2016.

“This investment in Essex Police has been used to prevent crime. Incidents of burglary, anti-social behaviour and theft have all fallen in recent years and drug driven violence is starting to show a decline too.

“We know we need to do more. We hear it loud and clear as we talk to communities across the county. During the summer we spoke to more than 1000 people across our county to develop our new Police and Crime Plan. They supported our ambition to get crime down, focus on prevention, protect the vulnerable and support victims.

“To achieve this, we need to complete our programme of investment and ensure that our Chief Constable and his officers have the support and resources needed to get crime down.

“By investing in Essex Police, you will help us to do more to prevent crime, have stronger neighbourhood policing and an even stronger 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.

“Our Fire and Rescue Service is also doing a great job, preventing harm, protecting those most at risk and providing an effective response to incidents.

“Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is working hard to increase its Fire Protection Capability to provide an effective response to the increased risk identified in the Grenfell Tower inquiry. It is also focused on improving its capacity to effectively prevent fires, investing in training resources for our firefighters, recruiting and retaining our on-call firefighters and ensuring that prevention is at the heart of everything it does.

“Additional investment in the above areas would allow the Service to do more for the communities we serve.

“We know that there are financial challenges and that any increase in funding must be judged carefully, however, we also know that families, communities and businesses want safe and secure communities where they can live their lives safe from harm and where businesses can thrive.”

The survey is online but alternative ways of having a say are available. People can call 01245 291600, leave full details and be called back or they can email [email protected]. Print copies will also be available for collection at local libraries.

The survey will be live from 6am on Friday, November 5 and will close at midnight on Sunday, December 5, but may be extended until midnight on Sunday, December 19 to ensure any paper copies that have been completed have time to be included.

The Band D Council Tax for policing in Essex for 2021/22 is £208.53 per year. For fire and rescue services it is £73.89 for a Band D property.

This is not a referendum; it is an opportunity to gauge opinions so those views can be considered as part of the decision-making process.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]