Essex’s crime chief has said the force requires hundreds more officers to do the job he wants it to.
Crime commissioner Roger Hirst was speaking in light of the announcement that Essex will receive central funding for another 127 officers for 2021/22 – well short of the 235 officers Essex Police says it needs to do everything it wants.
However, Mr Hirst has also insisted he will not be asking residents for as much as the 7.5 per cent – an extra £15 on a band D property – that could allowed to supplement the gap.
But he has indicted there will be an increase above 2.5 per cent to help pay for extra officers the force says it needs to carry on combating crime – particularly around domestic abuse, drug related violence and county lines.
He said: “For around 2.5 per cent on council tax that we first thought and with the support from central government we can do the 127 figure, but if we want to make a difference we know we need more like 235.
“We can’t do that, but what I want to do is for every bit we go over the 2.5 per cent I want to be able to explain what they are getting for it.”
Ultimately, he says, he wants to get in a position where Essex has around 3,600 officers in the next two years – about another 230 extra officers from its current position.
The force has already increased its officer numbers by around 520 since 2018/19 funded from increases in council tax payments.
He added: “We do the work around what shape we need to be in to bring stuff down.
“Where we have applied to known techniques and interventions with right resources around burglary and theft and anti social behaviour, then it’s working and actually we have managed to stop the increase in things like violent crime as well but we need to bring them down and that is size of number we are taking about.”