TAXPAYERS are being asked for their thoughts on potentially paying more for policing and the fire service in Essex.

Roger Hirst, who is the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for the county, holds the purse strings for Essex Police and the Essex and Fire service.

He is asking people to respond to a survey ahead of decisions on the budget.

The survey asks residents whether they would be prepared to pay additional sums on top of the council tax for policing in Essex.

It also asks people where they want to see the money invested.

The Band D council tax for policing in Essex for 2020/21 is £198.63 per year. For fire and rescue services it is £73.89 for a Band D property. Residents are also asked if they would pay more for the fire service.

Mr Hirst said: “Over the last three years, we have secured substantially more Government funding for policing and, with residents’ support, have been able to increase funds locally to increase the number of police officers.

“By March 2021 there will be 519 more officers in Essex than there were in 2018, 384 of them as a result of the increase in your local council tax precept and efficiencies achieved by Essex Police, and 135 from the national police uplift programme.

“Taking into account recent investments in technology and improved efficiency, this will make Essex Police as strong as it has ever been.

“We’ve seen a reduction in recorded crime over the last year, with over 9,000 fewer offences recorded and, importantly, fewer victims of crime between September 2019 and September 2020, compared to the year before.

“The fire and rescue service in Essex does not have the same level of need for investment as Essex Police, but does face several challenges, including providing fire protection that can respond to the outcomes of the Grenfell Tower inquiry, training needs and continuous on-call firefighter recruitment.

“We know this is a difficult financial time for residents and any plans to increase council tax must be considered very carefully. That’s why it’s so important people take part in the survey and have their say.”

To take the survey, visit It runs until midnight on December 20.

The survey is online but alternative ways are available by calling 01245 291600 or emailing