Harlow Labour slam Essex Police over gym costs

Politics / Tue 6th Dec 2016 at 10:32am

Hirst PCC

ESSEX Police and Crime Commissioner budget reveals plans to spend £575k on IT and £44k to improve staff gym

At the Police and Crime Panel meeting held at Essex County Council’s offices in Chelmsford last Thursday (December 1), Tony Durcan, Essex County Councillor for Harlow West challenged Roger Hirst, Tory Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, about his proposed budget for 2017.

In the Commissioner’s proposed budget, IT spending will increase by £575k; £600k will be allocated to assist in ill health retirement, £75k has been earmarked for occupational health advice and £44k has been allocated to improve the staff gym. Other items include £100k on Tasers and firearms.

Harlow residents will have to pay more to fund these increases but at the moment it’s unclear how much that will be.

During questioning, Councillor Durcan asked why so much was being spent on improving the staff gym and on IT equipment when Harlow residents want more visible policing on their streets and estates.

“Why should Harlow residents pay for these items when locally we’re getting worse services? People want to see more police out and about doing their job to keep the community safe, not in the gym or sitting at computers.”

Councillor Durcan did note that it was pleasing to see that budgets will increase for domestic abuse, cybercrime and burglaries.

“We still don’t know what the final increase but clearly we’re going to have to dig deep to find the extra funding and if people are having to pay more, it’s right that we question how it will be spent to ensure it addresses real need.”

“There is also an issue about experienced police officers leaving the force. While this is a worrying trend, it does present an opportunity to recruit new police officers – as many as 80 above agreed figures. But will the new officers have enough supervision and mentorship, particularly when it comes to keeping our streets safe and not just sitting at a desk working on new computers?”

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