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Essex Police proposes rise in share of council tax

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: January 22, 2014

Nick Alston, the Essex PCC

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Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston has blamed a cut in government funding for his decision to propose a rise in the force's council tax precept for next year.

The average householder, living in a Band D property, will face an increase of 3.5 per cent - the equivalent of just under £5 a year.

It comes one week after Essex County Council officers confirmed they will put proposals for a 1.49 per cent, an increase they described as "less than the cost of a pint of milk".

Mr Alston said he had "thought long and hard" before making the proposal, but said it was the "right and responsible" thing to do.

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"For the past few months, chief constable Stephen Kavanagh and I, together with our teams, have been working hard to understand the scale and impact of the financial challenges faced by Essex Police," he said.

"If the amount of council tax paid by all of us who live in Essex was equivalent to the national average, it would fund an additional 300 to 500 police constables depending on the calculation used."

He said the reduction in government funding in 2014/2015 was equivalent to £8.4million, or 165 police officers.

He added the sum would generate funds equivalent to the cost of 57 police officers.

"I believe that the majority of people in Essex will be prepared to pay a little more in council tax, around 10 pence a week, to help ensure that we have a strong police force," he added.

"I firmly believe that increasing the portion of council tax to fund policing by just under £5 a year will reduce the risks to the effective delivery of policing services in Essex.

The proposal will be presented to the Police and Crime Panel and debated on January 29.

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