A police chief says he has doubled his recruitment plans and vowed to boost his force’s presence in communities to cut crime.

Chief Constable Giles York announced plans to hire an additional 200 officers and protect a further 500 roles after a rise in the council tax precept plugged a multi-million pound funding gap.

His plan calls for officers to join investigation teams to tackle burglaries and organised crime and will increase the police’s visibility on the streets and allow them to respond to victims.

Chief Constable York said: “It is my priority to deliver a really good service to the public. We are about to enhance local policing and modernise the force. We have already doubled recruitment for this year.

“The change in our financial position has created an exciting opportunity to strengthen areas where it is needed most.

“It means we can increase our presence within communities, enhance our investigations teams and improve accessibility when people want to get in contact.”

He admitted that the past few years have been particularly tough to cope with due to police cuts, as £90 million has had to be taken from the budget, but he says the precept rise will cover most of the £26 million cuts he would have had to have made during the next few years.

It follows criticism from retired Detective Chief Superintendent Kevin Moore, who said officers in some parts of Sussex were being stretched to breaking point.

Chief Constable York said: “Yes, some officers are really stretched, it’s sometimes busy in parts of the organisation, that’s the nature of the demand.

“Over the last few years, we have dealt with significant challenges created by the financial constraints in which the force has found itself.

“This has meant difficult decisions have had to be made resulting in fewer people than we had before.”

Last week Sussex Police Federation chairman Matt Webb said that while he welcomed more help for officers, the extra 200 roles would only amount to a “drop in the ocean”.

He said that the extra officers would not compensate for the numbers lost.

But Chief Constable York said taking on 200 more officers is an increase of nearly ten per cent on the current number of police officers.

He said: “I have spent a lot of time on this development strategy and the opportunity this has afforded us. I would not have committed my energy to it if I thought that this was just a drop in the ocean.

“This will make a significant difference, not compared to where we are today, but to where we thought we would be in four years time.

“I think we will be 700 people better off in Sussex than we thought we were going to be.”

He added that the force has listened to communities to ensure that improvements are made.