Taxpayers must pay more to fund the police force due to government cuts, according to crime commissioner Nick Alston.

Currently, the amount of money taken from council tax to fund the police is the fourth lowest of all counties in the UK, Nick Alson said.

He believes the current level is not sustainable due to government cuts coming into force, which have resulted in a 4.8 per cent drop in funding.

This is the equivalent to 165 police officers, Mr Alston said.

“Here is the predicament for our county," he added.

"We have a highly professional, lean and efficient police force, and we are faced with the need for further savings.

“At the same time, I hear week-by-week that everyone is concerned there are too few police on the front line.

“I have decided that the right and responsible thing to do is to propose a precept increase of just under £5 a year for a Band D property, or 3.5 per cent, to mitigate the reduction in central funding.

"This sum would generate funds equivalent to the cost of 57 police officers.”

Mr Alston said Essex Police has a below average number of police officers and PCSOs in relation to the size and population of the county, and the seventh lowest number of police staff.

He added: “I recognise that for some finding even this modest amount will be difficult.

“I firmly believe that increasing the portion of council tax to fund policing by just under £5 a year will reduce the risks to the effective delivery of policing services in Essex.”

The proposal will be presented to the Police and Crime Panel and debated in public at a meeting of Wednesday January 29 at 2.30pm in County Hall, Chelmsford.