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Poll: Essex Police commissioner proposes hike in council tax

PUBLISHED: 13:11 23 January 2013 | UPDATED: 13:11 23 January 2013

Nick Alston

Nick Alston

Archant

THE Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex has annouced plans to increase its share council tax by 3.5%.

Nick Alston said the financial position of Essex Police is “even more challenging” than he suspected.

But he also said the council tax paid by residents to fund policing services in the county is the lowest in the country.

The funding of police forces comes from two main sources: Government grants and council tax. Between 2011/12 and 2014/15, the national government grant to police forces will reduce by 20%.

Essex Police is about to enter the third year of a four year change programme to save over £42 million from the annual budget by April 2014.

Compared with the levels of 2010, Essex Police will have lost 353 police officers; 112 PCSOs; and 410 police staff.

Mr Alston said: “One striking fact is that if we, the people of Essex, paid the equivalent to the national average for policing from council tax, it would fund 470 extra police officers. We are at the bottom of the pile and will only fall further behind if we don’t take steps now to invest in our police.

He added: “Ultimately, there must be a risk that continued cuts in the number of police officers will make Essex more vulnerable to crime. Therefore, I have decided to ask for a 3.5% increase in the portion of council tax used to fund policing and community safety in Essex, which amounts to an extra £4.77 per year for a Band D council tax payer.”

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