Households face 5.55 per cent increase on police precept bill

Households can expect to see the average amount of council tax they pay for the police service in Essex increase by almost £13.

Roger Hirst, Essex’s police, fire and crime commissioner, wants to increase the police precept by 5.55 per cent – equivalent to an increase of £12.96 a year, from £233.46 to £246.42 for a Band D property.

This will raise an additional £8.695 million of council tax receipt – bringing the total amount, including grants, available to Mr Hirst for policing from £372.7m in 2023/24 in to £407.5m in 2024/25.

Mr Hirst also wants to increase the fire precept by 2.91 per cent – equivalent to an increase of £2.34 a year. That will raise that charge from £80.28 to £82.62 for a Band D property. This will bring in an additional £1.5m of council tax receipts.

Mr Hirst said the extra police precept will be spent on maintaining Essex Police’s strength and size which is now stands at 3,755 police officers – an increase of over 900 police officers since May 2016.

It will also enhance the capacity and capability of the force by investing in the 40 percent of officers with less than five years’ experience to allow them to be out and visible in Essex communities.

Mr Hirst also wants money to better support victims of crime and extra investment in community safety and investment in the serious violence unit and Op Raptor Teams to target drug gangs.

He also wants to strengthen the electric infrastructure to prepare for the conversion to electric vehicles.

He said in his papers to the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel, set to discuss the plans on February 1 that the force has so far been able to reduce overall crime.

Essex’s police commissioner has earlier though admitted it is “nowhere near where it needs to be” in tackling rape crime. Essex Police recorded the highest number of rape offences and the second worst rate of solving those incidents among its group made up of the eight most similar forces

He said: “With this extra strength the force, working with partners, has been able to get crime down across Essex with a 6.4 percent reduction in the 12 months to November 2023.

“Within this reduction in overall crime is a reduction in domestic abuse (16.5 per cent), violent crime (9.6 per cent reduction in violence with injury), violence against women and girls (14.3 per cent decrease in violence against the person offences committed against females) and anti-social behaviour (38.4 per cent reduction).

“However, it is clear from my public engagements, our independent public survey, the recent precept survey, and feedback from partners across Essex that the public want to see further reductions in crime.

“They also want to see investment in tackling gang and drug related violence combating serious and organised crime, improved local neighbourhood policing to target burglary and vehicle theft, bringing down anti-social behaviour, reducing violence against women and girls and break the cycle of domestic abuse.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter