Following the Chancellor’s budget this week, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex has spoken of his delight as police budgets were saved major cuts.
Following the Spending Review and Autumn Statement announcement by Chancellor George Osborne, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex Nick Alston said: “I and others have been lobbying the Home Secretary hard in recent weeks with concerns over the levels of cuts to police funding we had been told to expect.
“I didn’t doubt that the Government would listen carefully to what PCCs and Chief Officers have been saying but I am delighted that it has responded by keeping the overall budget for policing at the present level through to 2020 and that it is giving some of us the freedom to lift the precept a little. I have strongly argued for this as it is crucial for us here in Essex.
“The Chief Constable and I are not going to take any immediate decisions. We will need to see the detail of how Essex will be affected, which we won’t know until mid-December.
“However in anticipation of the need to make tough savings we have worked hard to truly understand what matters to our communities: tackling the changing crime types that cause such dreadful harm; delivering much better and more modern ways for the public to contact the police; and providing the best possible response to emergencies among many other issues. We are determined to move quickly to address these important areas and we now have a new opportunity to do that.
“I am also currently reviewing what the option to raise the precept by more than 2 per cent might mean. I am likely to argue that any additional money raised through local tax is used specifically for local policing.
“In light of the announcement I am aware that many people will be asking whether the current proposals to reduce the number of PCSOs employed by Essex Police will be reversed. The Chief Constable and I will take time for reflection before taking any decisions.”
An Essex Police spokesman added: “We welcome the announcement on police funding, which recognises the importance to Essex of public safety and protection.
“With demand for our help increasing, crime and harm in the county changing and new technology opening up more efficient and modern means of engagement, Essex Police has to continue to change and become more efficient.
“We’ll be looking closely at the detail of the announcements and the further information on individual force funding settlements that will be published next month.
“What this announcement means in the short term is the welcome opportunity to make sure those changes are right for the people of Essex not just for today, but for tomorrow and future years.”