Essex commissioner suggests council tax rise to tackle soaring crime

Roger Hirst, Essex's Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

Roger Hirst, Essex's Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner - Credit: PFCC

Essex residents could see their council tax bills rise to help fight crime, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) has said.

Following the Autumn Budget on Wednesday, October 27, PFCCs - including Roger Hirst in Essex - can increase their income from council tax each year for the next three years.

The Chancellor has let PFCCs increase their 'precept' by £10 on a band D property each year, which means band D taxpayers in Essex could pay a total £218 towards tackling crime come April 2022.

Band D - which is the 'average' council tax band - households were billed £208.53 for PFCC services in 2021/22.

Mr Hirst promised "detailed discussions" around the rise.

He said: "The government has said that there will be an increase in the level to which the council tax precept can be increased without the need for a referendum, and that will be £10 per annum for three years.

"That is something we do not have to do, but have the freedom to do.

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"That is certainly going to be something that leads to detailed discussions around how we actually use that money to best effect.

"But we know we have to improve community safety, we know we have to complete that shift towards prevention.

"We know we have to get crime down, because there have been too many crimes - we are not in a low-crime environment."

The challenges which Essex's crime-fighting forces face is detailed in Essex Police's Police and Crime Plan 2021-2024.

Between 2016/17 and 2020/21, crime has overall increased by 22%.

Violence with injury increased 4%, and rape and sexual assault has risen by 57%.

Drugs (possession and trafficking) increased by 124%.

Some crimes are down, including burglary (-33%), anti-social behaviour (-15%) and theft (-30%).

Mr Hirst said: "There are places we wish to invest and I am very confident that we will wish to use at least a good chunk if not all of that precept freedom to make a difference for those living in this county."