Council tax to rise in Essex next year as number of police officers falls

Police officer numbers set to fall as council tax rises in Essex.

Police officer numbers set to fall as council tax rises in Essex. - Credit: Archant � 2008

Council tax in Essex is set to rise next year as the Police and Crime Commissioner announced plans to raise his share of the precept and cut officer numbers.

Nick Alston

Nick Alston - Credit: Contributed

Nick Alston made the announcement after revised funding figures from central government for Essex Police.

The force will get £172.8million for 2015/16, £8.5m or 4.7% less than this year from Whitehall, which provides roughly two-thirds of the overall spend. The rest comes from council tax.

Mr Alston has not confirmed the level of increase but it is expected to be a maximum of 2%, as above this a referendum is needed. A rise of this amount would cost less than 6p per week.

He said: “To help offset the reduction in government grant my intention, encouraged by the Police and Crime Panel, is to seek an increase in the precept.

“Essex Police has prepared detailed plans for delivering the savings required in 2015/16. A key part is to deliver further efficiencies, particularly in technology and property.

“In Essex about 84% of the overall budget is spent on salaries. Regrettably the reduction in budget means that there will be a further reduction in the number of officers and staff.

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“Local policing will remain strong in Essex. But the call for more ‘bobbies on the beat’ misunderstands the nature of some of the key challenges now faced by our police forces.

“In Essex there are four times as many domestic violence incidents as there are burglaries, and most domestic abuse takes place not in the street but in the family home. ‘Bobbies on the beat’ will not address this.”

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