RESIDENTS are willing to invest more in policing, according to a survey carried out by the county's police, fire and crime commissioner.

More than 5,000 people completed the survey put on by Roger Hirst.

According to the results, 66 per cent of people said they would be prepared to invest more in policing to help improve the service.

At the amount, central government rules mean increase to the police portion of council tax is capped at £5 per year for an average Band D household.

A similar amount of responders - 65 per cent - said they would be prepared to see the cap lifted so more council tax could be raised for policing in Essex.

Some 75 per cent of people said they were prepared to contribute an additional £10 or more per annum to invest in policing.

Another 16 per cent were prepared to pay £5 a year more.

Approximately 25% of respondents disagreed both with investing more and lifting the cap.

Local neighbourhood policing was rated as the most important area to focus any additional funds on, followed by tackling anti-social behaviour, tackling gangs, and serious and organised crime.

Mr Hirst said: “It is clear from the results of this survey that people want to see more investment in local policing and that investment should be focussed on local neighbourhood policing, tackling anti-social behaviour, gangs and dealing with serious and organised crime.

"This echoes what I hear at the regular public meetings that I hold in each district across Essex.”

As well as funds from council tax, Essex Police also receives money from central government.

Mr Hirst added: “I will be using these results while I look at how we move forward on investing in policing across the country.

“We should hear from the Government in mid-December what the police funding settlement will be which will give us a clearer picture about the future financial situation.

"I am the national lead for finance for Police and Crime Commissioners and have been lobbying the Government for a fairer financial settlement for police forces across the country, as well as for the freedom to raise the police precept.

"These results will be an important piece of my argument while I continue these discussions.

“I would like to thank everybody who took the time to complete the survey. Your views on policing are greatly appreciated.”