Tax bill for police could double – officers already looking at extra spending


Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Police chiefs in Essex have been asked to draw up plans to spend extra on fighting crime – with news that funding coiuld increase.

Roger Hirst, Police Fire and Crime Commissioner, who holds the purse strings for Essex Police, told the county’s crime panel at Essex County Council on Thursday that he believes he will be given powers to slap as much as £24 on council tax bills next year when the government announces a settlement next week.

Senior police officers in the county have been asked to look at how they might best spend that sum to increase the effectiveness of the force.

The potential funding boost comes as the force, which has 3,000 officers, looks to boost the number of police officers by another 150 next year.

The Government Funding settlement for policing had been due to be announced this week.

However, the extensive debate on Brexit filled the parliamentary work schedule, delaying the announcement until next week.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is expected to give the green light to crime commissioners to double police precept for 2019/20, from £12 extra per band D household to £24.

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Any budget proposals though have to be passed by the crime panel.

Mr Hirst said: “I believe that forces will get more precept freedom, you probably saw in the press that the precept freedom will be doubled.

“So instead of £12 on a band D it will be £24 on a band D.

“In my dialogue with governmental authorities I have had no reason for me to disbelieve those reports.

“We know we need to deploy resources so I have asked the chief constable in his budget deliberations to at least do some scenario analysis as how we might effectively deploy that level of resource.”

Mr Hirst said ideally, being realistic, he would like to see as many as 3,250 officers.

He said: “We are now at 3,000 and when I come back to for the budget I’ll be able to give you a number for a further increase. I would really like to do the same again.

“And if we can do more and if we have freedom to do more, to be investing in crime prevention and getting crime and disorder down, that is where I’d like to be.”

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