RESIDENTS are being asked whether they would be willing to pay more yet again to improve the police service in Essex.

Police, fire and crime commissioner Roger Hirst has launched a survey to gauge the reaction to increasing council tax to give extra money to the force and find out what police priorities should be.

Following a similar survey last year, Mr Hirst raised council tax by an average of £12 per year for a Band D property after two third of respondents said they would be prepared to pay an extra two per cent.

The increase, together with Government cash, allowed Essex Police to recruit 150 more frontline officers who will be arriving at stations early next year.

Next year significant additional costs are expected to police including increases in police officer pay, higher insurance costs and changes to police officer pensions.

There will also be costs as a result of extending the police’s radio system due to delays in the roll out of the National Emergency Services Communication Programme.

Mr Hirst said: “I want to provide the best possible policing service, which is what the people of Essex rightly deserve.

"Increasing investment will help the Chief Constable deliver this.

"I am working hard to lobby the Government but we cannot yet know the scale of any increase in central Government funding.

"I can of course raise the policing precept.

"Before I do that I want to know what people think.”

He added: “Whilst filling the survey I would also like people to give their views on the policing priorities for Essex.

"I want to make sure that they reflect the needs of the communities that Essex Police serves.”

People can fill in the survey online at

Hard copies are also available on request by calling 01245 291600.

The survey is now live and will close at midnight on Tuesday, November 27.

The questionnaire only reflects the policing element of the Council Tax precept and not the precept relating to the fire service.