Essex Police Commissioner Nick Alston has been forced to withdraw his plans to ask taxpayers to pay more for policing after it emerged it could potentially cost £2million.

Earlier this month Mr Alston outlined his intentions to ask for a 3.5 percent rise per household in the council tax precept funding the force.

This would lead to other services having to agree to a drop in funding, or a rise in overall council tax bills.

However, under government guidelines announced yesterday, any authority seeking a rise of more than two percent must call a referendum.

It is estimated that in Essex that this would cost £2million.

Mr Alston said he was disappointed at the decision to impose a cap.

He said: “It would not be a good use of public money to trigger a referendum in Essex.

“I propose to present a revised policing precept proposal to the Police and Crime Panel.”

Mr Alston claims that people living in Essex pay one of the lowest police precepts in the country and the proposed rise would have cost just less than £5 for every household per year.

This could have paid for 57 extra officers, Mr Alston claimed.

Central government funding cuts will result in a 4.8 percent drop in funding this year.