TAXPAYERS will be asked to pay an extra £3 a year in a bid to safeguard police staff and officers - but jobs will still be lost.

Nick Alston, the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, has announced that he would increase the policing precept part of council tax by two per cent to raise £1.7million, the equivalent of about 6 pence per week for taxpayers.

It follows provisional figures suggesting the Government will cut its grant to the force by £8.5million, from £181.3million to an expected £172.8million for the next financial year.

Mr Alston said: "The central government grant makes up roughly two-thirds of the overall policing budget, with the other one third coming from the policing precept, which is the portion of local council tax used for policing and community safety purposes.

"To help offset the reduction in central government grant, my intention, encouraged by the Police and Crime Panel for Essex, is to seek an increase in the policing precept for Essex for 2015/16.

“Regrettably the reduction in budget means that there will be a further reduction in the number of officers and staff working for Essex Police in 2015/16 and future years.”

It is feared Essex Police could have to cut more than £40million from its budget over the next three years, on top of the £47.3million it has already saved over the past four years.

Mark Smith, chairman of the Essex Police Federation, has raised serious concerns the latest round of cuts will stop officers responding to crimes for days and questioned when the cuts will stop.