A HIKE in tax would pay for more police officers to protect Sussex from terror attacks and specialist teams to deal with sex crimes.

That is the message from the county's police and crime commissioner in a bid to raise the precept again by an average of £5 for band D households - but it will not be introduced if the public do not agree.

Katy Bourne said the 3.4 per cent increase would fund 100 specialist officers - firearms teams would fight terrorism, others would tackle youth crime and help vulnerable youngsters.

Others would focus on neighbourhood crime problems, bringing down organised gangs and stopping repeat offenders.

The money would also allow Sussex Police to hire investigators to focus on growing numbers of reports of sexual offences and child protection cases.

She said: "The terrorism threat remains at severe and it is not a matter of will it happen but when it happens that we are prepared.

"This money will fund the armed response officers who would be first on the scene.

"It is really good victims of sexual offences are now more confident in coming forward - particularly in historic abuse cases - and they have a right to justice.

"But we need more officers and specialist officers to deal with these crimes, sometimes the incident happened a long time ago and the investigation is complicated and can take years."

She said the money would reassure the public and give them more confidence in the police, adding: "This money will be used to focus on four key areas of local policing.

"I want to keep communities strong and crime low. It is often a small number of people who can have an effect on the community with things like anti-social behaviour and drug dealing.

"A police presence on the streets and with officers who know the area will help."

She urged everyone to submit their views before the deadline at midnight on Sunday, adding: "If the public do not want it then I will not bring it in."

Although early indications of responses are showing the public mostly agree with the plans, she said.

The increase would equate to a £3.33 increase for band A properties and £10 for band H.

The HMIC value for money report last year said Sussex had more of its officers on the frontline than the national average.

Families living in Band D properties in Sussex are paying £148.91 a year for policing which is 48 per cent less than £220.19 in Surrey, the office of the PCC said.

The findings will be presented at the police and crime panel meeting on January 20.