Police tax rise to put 200 more police officers on streets in 2023

Average council tax bills across Essex will rise by £10 to get 200 more police officers ready for the streets in 2023, the county’s crime commissioner has said

An average Band D household’s charges for fire will go up from £73.89 to £75.33 A change of £1.44 per year.

While average charges for policing will go up by £9.99 a year, from £208.53 to £218.52 for a Band D property, raising an additional £6.55 million of council tax receipts.

It is this that the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst says will help deliver policing pledges – including an extra 200 officers to be ready 2023 – that will set the background for safer neighbourhoods in which businesses and individuals can thrive.

He said: “We have to make some really informed decisions and one of the things that helps to get towns, families and businesses back up and running to where they want to be be as fast as possible is community safety.

“Delivering on policing and fire and rescue actually helps people generate the wellbeing and wealth of towns.

“The police are there to help create the environment in which people can thrive.”

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.

He added: “Essentially this tax increase gives us the resources, particularly in policing now, to deliver on the new police and crime plan which we published at the end of last year.

“It is very clear about what we need to do – we are succeeding on neighbourhood crime, we have more to do on drug driven violence, particularly around domestic abuse and violence as a whole and of course violence against women and girls.

“It is around those violent crimes where we have spent the last couple of years working out what we need to do but we need to more of it.”

The decision to increase police and fire precepts for Essex yesterday, February 3, came on the same day that the Bank of England raised interest rates to 0.5 per cent from 0.25 per cent and there were warnings average energy prices will increase by almost £700.

Mr Hirst added that he did not want to play down the precept increase despite its relatively small size compared to other price increases facing households.

He said: “It all counts, I wouldn’t underestimate it. There is a economic realism in this.

“The pandemic has really hurt, in health terms, it has killed people and put people out of good health but it has hurt business, people’s employment and it has reduced our ability to generate wealth and that means standards of living are going to fall.

“The question we have to answer as government is how do we choose the shape of that.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter