More police officers could be paid for if a maximum council tax increase is approved.

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex Roger Hirst has proposed increasing the policing element of county council tax by £24 a year for the average household, bumping up annual prices to £192.96.

This comes as Essex County Council looks to increase its share of the tax yield by four per cent.

With the extra funds the commissioner would recruit an additional 215 police officers over the next year with a focus on visible, frontline policing.

The announcement comes after 71 per cent of survey respondents said they would pay more for policing at the end of last year, with 73 per cent comfortable with an annual increase of £20.

The fire portion of council tax would be bumped up by £2.07 a year for Band D property dwellers.

Mr Hirst said: “It is important to remember that Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service are separate services with separate budgets.

“People across the county have been telling me that they want more police officers and that they are prepared to pay more to get them.

"If my proposed budget is accepted it will mean the chief constable will be able to bring police officers numbers up to over 3,200 by March next year which will get Essex Police near where it needs to be in terms of establishment.”

The proposed total budget for Essex Police is £300.478 million, with £175.8 million from central Government and £124.6 million drawn from local taxation.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service proposed total budget will be £73 million with £46. 876 million coming from Council Tax and £24. 533 million from government grants with the balance being drawn from the service's reserves.

The proposals will be discussed at a meeting on January 24.

The fire service's extra funding would be split between £400,000 to support the recruitment and retention of on-call fire fighters, £372,000 to fund sprinkler initiatives in vulnerable communities and £600,000 for improvements to operational training.