Published 9 February 2018

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Matthew Scott has empowered the Chief Constable to embark upon Kent Police’s most significant recruitment drive for a generation, after his 2018/19 funding proposal was approved.

Outlining his proposal to the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel at a meeting on 8 February, the Police and Crime Commissioner Mr Scott said:

‘This will boost the frontline quite substantially.

‘We’ll be able to recruit up to 200 new police officers next year with a commitment from the Chief Constable that a substantial number of those will go into supporting local policing. We’ll also be increasing the number of officers dedicated to rural policing and also roads policing.

‘We’ll be recruiting more than 80 members of police staff, a substantial number of which will go into the Force Control Room to improve the performance of 999 calls and 101.

‘This is the most significant recruitment drive for a generation - something really positive.’

The officers and staff will be paid for by increasing an average Band D property’s council tax bill by £1 a month – something which members of the public have told the PCC they are prepared to pay.

Mr Scott continued:

‘The panel will be pleased to see that this proposal received a substantial number of positive responses. During my Annual Policing Survey around 68% of people said they would be prepared to pay a little more towards policing if it was necessary.

‘I think, with the challenges we face in the county, it is necessary and that’s why I’ve made this proposal.’

He added:

‘In addition, I’m making savings in my own office of £200,000; Kent Police will make savings of over £9million; and we’ll be using a measured programme to reduce the amount of reserves that Kent Police will be retaining. I will not allow council tax to prop up inefficiencies.’

Panel member Cllr Don Sloan commented:

‘It’s good that you’ll be able to divert some extra funds into community safety, and it is good that you’ve got the public endorsement for that.’

And Panel chairman Mike Hill said:

‘We’ve heard from the Commissioner very clearly why Kent Police needs extra resources and what the Chief Constable will do with them. We’ve heard that there is strong public support for his proposals and that, even after this, Kent will still be a low precept county.’

The Panel unanimously supported the PCC’s decision to increase the Band D precept to £169.15 a year, representing a 7.6% increase.

The Panel also discussed the latest version of the PCC’s Safer in Kent Plan, which sets out Kent Police’s priorities.

The plan has been refreshed to stipulate that the Chief Constable must deliver a policing service which is accessible. It also recognises that where work has already been done to deliver victims’ services the focus will shift to enhancing these services and scoping new ways to prevent crime.

Cllr Alan Horton said:

‘I congratulate the Commissioner and his staff on producing what I think is an excellent Safer in Kent Plan. I think what’s described in here has the real potential to make me, my family, my neighbours and everybody I know safer in Kent.’