Essex’s Police and Crime Commissioner has approved plans to charge taxpayers an extra £12 per year to put more officers on the county’s streets.

Roger Hirst signed off on plans to increase the force’s council tax precept by 7.62 per cent for the 2018/19 financial year during a meeting at County Hall on Monday.

The tax hike, which will add £12 per year on average to a council tax bill in the county, is expected to raise an additional £7.5 million.

Mr Hirst has insisted the extra money will be used to raise the number of officers in the county to at least 3,000 by May 2019, “focused overwhelmingly” on local policing.

He said: “Overall demand for policing is increasing. Local officers, detectives, specialist teams, PCSOs and police staff are all working hard to keep Essex safe.

“This new funding will enable the Chief Constable to provide vital new officers. They will be joining one of the most efficient forces in the country as assessed by Her Majesty’s Inspectors.

“We will continue to look for ways to improve efficiency and provide a better service for the people of Essex.”

The crime commissioner says a recent survey carried out by his office revealed three-quarters of Essex residents were prepared to pay an extra £10 a year to improve police funding.

Essex Police has also identified a further £3.5 million in potential efficiency savings, which it says will be reinvested back into the force.