Essex Police tax precept to increase 3.5%

Nick Alston Nick Alston said he recognised finding extra money for Essex Police's share of the council tax would "be difficult" for some people

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A police force warns it faces a £5m shortfall despite plans to increase its share of council tax.

Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston wants to increase the police precept by 3.5% - about £5 a year for a Band D.

Essex Police will receive £8.4 million less next year, which amounts to about 165 police officers.

Mr Alston warned further savings would have to made but urged the force not to rely "solely" on officer cuts.

"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," said Mr Alston, "to help ensure that we have a strong police force.

"But of course I recognise that for some finding even this modest amount will be difficult."

John Watts of Unison said the proposed increase would help protect the county's policing.

The precept rise will be considered on Wednesday by the county's police and crime panel.

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