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Residents asked whether they want to pay more council tax towards Essex Police

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 November 2017

Roger Hirst. Picture: MARTIN ROSE

Roger Hirst. Picture: MARTIN ROSE

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People living in Essex are being asked whether they would pay more for the service they receive from their police force.

Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst is asking people to fill in a survey to give their views on the future funding of the Essex Police.

The force say they are the lowest funded police force per resident of any in the country and have the sixth lowest council tax funding for policing.

As a result Mr Hirst is asking people to make their feelings known about any future changes to council tax rates that may increase this funding.

Mr Hirst said: “I want to provide the best service possible for the people of Essex and increasing investment will help me deliver this. I’m not expecting any increase in central Government funding for this year but I can raise the police precept. However, before I make that decision I want to know what the views of the public are so I can take them into account.”

He added: “At every public meeting I attend I hear that the residents want more police on the streets and whilst both Essex Police and I are doing everything we can to make that happen, we don’t have the money or resources to deliver it in the best way that we want to. The demand on the police service is rising.

“New crime types are emerging and existing crime is rising in its complexity, this is against a backdrop of an unprecedented shift in the national security environment.

“My question to the public is this - do they want to pay more for those extra resources?”

Police funding currently comes from two sources; central government and council tax.

Money from council tax paid towards policing increased by 3.25 per cent this year. That means the average band D property in the county paid an extra £4.95 for police services.

Mr Hirst has spoken at length recently about the need for more police funding, both on a local and national level.

In a recent interview with BBC Essex he said that the key to any future tax increases was for residents to “know what they are going to get”.

The results of the survey are not binding and will be fed back to the Police, Fire and Crime Panel so they can consider any feedback provided by the public.

The survey on the future funding of Essex Police closes on November 19.

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