Two thirds indicate support to increase police funding tax

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Two thirds of residents who responded to a police funding consultation support an increase in the police precept.

More than 2,000 people responded to an Essex Police commissioner survey asking for views on funding.

Of those respondents, 66 per cent indicated a willingness to pay more, a total of 21 per cent said they would not be prepared to support an increase, while 12 per cent said they weren’t sure.

Almost 30 per cent of those who indicated they would be prepared to support an increase said they would be prepared to pay at least £50 a year more.

Eleven per cent were prepared to pay £75 a year more.

Of those who indicated a willingness to pay more for policing, more than 60 per cent said they were willing to pay an extra £20.

Roger Hirst, the police and crime commissioner for Essex, is set to make recommendations later this month to the Essex Crime Panel, which has to agree the precept before council tax bills are sent out.

He said: “I think it’s great 85 per cent who indicated a willingness of an increase were prepared to support an increase in the precept above inflation.

“I think it demonstrates the increases over the past two years have been well spent and we are clearly making a difference in terms of policing deployment across the county.

“People can be rest assured that given the support the government is giving us in the current year that we will continue to make further progress.”

Over the last two years Mr Hirst has carried out surveys on the question of increasing investment in policing in Essex.

And the results of the latest survey follow similar support of the past two years.

In 2019/20 the Band D payment for policing was £193, which was an increase of £24 a year for the average household.

The year before it increased by £12 a year from £157 to £169 for a Band D property.

The money will be invested in 215 additional police officers on top of the 150 recruited from last year’s tax increase.

Funding for Essex Police comes from two sources, central government (60 per cent) and local council tax (40 per cent).

However, with those two sources combined 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.

Combined with the 135 officers being funded by the government as part of the first wave of the 20,000 extra officers promised nationally, and three funded by partnership funding, it means Essex Police will be recruiting at least 503 extra officers by April 2021.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter