Essex: Police and crime panel approves council tax hike

Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, Nick Alston

Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, Nick Alston - Credit: Archant

ESSEX Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston has proposed the increase to tackle deep budget cuts which have seen the loss of 350 police officers.

Members of the county’s Police and Crime Panel voted in favour of the increase at a meeting held on Thursday.

However, despite the rise, 34 police officers will be lost over the next year.

Mr Alston says the job losses were already included as part of Essex Police’s four year plan to meet over £42 million in budget cuts.

He said the budget plan, which he inherited from the Police Authority, had also factored in a 2.5 per cent rise in its share of council tax.

The extra 1pc in revenue Mr Alston hopes to raise will go towards crime prevention projects in local communities.

The rise equates to an extra £4.77 per year for a Band D council tax payer and overall it would bring in an additional £2.75 million in revenue.

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The move coincides with the publication of the draft Police and Crime Plan for Essex which focuses heavily on community safety work and tackling the causes of crime.

It proposes more joint working with agencies; reducing domestic violence; tackling consequences of drug and alcohol abuse; reducing youth offending; improving crime prevention and improving road safety.

Speaking to BBC Radio Essex on Friday, Mr Alston said: “We spend nearly £300 million a year on policing a year and only half a per cent of that is spent on crime reduction.”

Mr Alston said the amount of council tax which is currently paid to fund policing services in Essex is the lowest in the country.

“We need to spend more money on those really good causes that tackle crime in the first place.

He added: “I’m very determined we are going to have better policing and better crime reduction across Essex this coming year and for years to come and to do that we’ve got to pay a responsible share of that money.”

To view and feedback on the plan visit essex.pcc.police.uk/2013/01/the-draft-police-and-crime-plan-for-essex/

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