Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has highlighted the work of Essex Police in Parliament, recognising the progress that has been made to deliver a stronger and more visible local police force.

Giles spoke during the debate on the Police Grant, which sets direct resource funding for each police force in England and Wales. In total, this new settlement will see available funding for police forces increase by 8% to £13.1bn in 2020/21, and Essex Police will see their available funding increase by £23.8m in 2020/21. This new funding will help the force continue to expand.

This funding settlement was passed by Parliament on 24th February 2020, and you can read the Written Statement from the Minister responsible here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-01-22/HCWS51/

Since his election in 2017, Giles has campaigned to secure successive increases in the Council Tax precept for policing, and this has allowed Essex Police to recruit 368 new officers. Over 30 of these officers are working locally in the Tendring Policing Area, and the increase that has now been secured via the 2020/21 Police Grant will enable the recruitment of a further 151 officers. This brings the total number of Essex Police officers to 3,369.

This extra investment has also allowed for:

  • New Town Centre teams to tackle anti-social behaviour;
  • More officers dedicated to tackling gangs and serious crime;
  • A new Business Team, which will focus on issues that affect local business owners and their employees such as theft, staff safety and fraud;
  • Schools’ officers working on community outreach;
  • An expanded Rural Engagement Team who tackle all crime in rural areas including specific issues like unauthorised traveller encampments, hare coursing, night-hawking and flytipping;
  • 22 new officers based in local communities, working directly with partners and the public in towns and villages across Essex;
  • The recruitment of 88 officers to investigate, gather intelligence and bring the most serious offenders to justice;
  • The addition of 41 officers into specialist capabilities within the force, such as firearm officers, cybercrime specialists and investing to increase the use of Tasers;
  • The necessary support staff, equipment and facilities will also be added to support these additions.

This investment will be funded by a 2.94% increase in the policing element of Local Council Tax – an increase of £5.67 a year for a Band D property. Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) will also be able to access additional resources, and these will be used to increase investment in training for firefighters, on call development, and technical fire safety and protection activities. ECFRS resource increases will be funded by a 1.99% uplift in the fire element of Local Council Tax, equivalent to an increase of £1.44 per year for a Band D property.

Speaking about Essex Police in Parliament, Giles said:

“In Clacton, we led a campaign to increase the precept for policing, it spread across Essex, and I am very glad that we have more police officers in Clacton and we have town centre teams.”

Speaking about Essex Police after the debate on the Police Grant, Giles said:

“I said during the General Election that it remains a key priority of mine to increase the number of police on our streets. We have made real progress on this since I was first elected, and I am delighted that a total of 519 additional officers will now be working to make our county a safer place to live.

“Of course, Essex Police need time to recruit and train these new officers, so a little patience is required. I do appreciate that Council Tax contributions are going up, and that this investment from local residents needs to translate into visible officers on our streets. Rest assured, we already have 30 more officers working in our local area and I will ensure that we get our fair share of the 151 new officers, as I have done in the past.”