Funding for the county's police force will increase by £23m next year.

The 8.3 per cent budget increase is part of a series of funding boosts announced by the Home Office, which also includes £175m for the Police Transformation Fund and £495m for national police technology capabilities.

The news was greeted with guarded optimism in Epping Forest.

MP Dame Eleanor Laing said: "The Government have listened to our concerns. We need additional police officers in Essex - and now we will get them.

"The Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst has done very well in using his budget carefully and increasing the number of officers by 150 this year - but we still need more."

"I am delighted that Essex Police's funding could increase by up to £23m next year."

Loughton Town Mayor Stephen Murray also suggested more needed to be done.

He said: “Any increase is to be welcomed, however this good news must be seen as only a small step in getting anywhere near the full time equivalent number of police officers Essex had in 2010.

"According to official figures in March 2010 the full time number stood at 3,606 officers and in March 2018 the number had dipped to under 3,000 at 2,958 serving police officers - a drop of nearly 18 per cent or 648 officers.

“I would urge our MP to carry on urging the Home Office to get the numbers up to at least the 2010 figure as quickly as possible."