28 January 2020

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Community policing and crime prevention will receive a significant boost under budget plans being put forward by Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Matthew Scott.

Kent will have 3,813 police officers by March 2021, with 181 more being recruited thanks to funding from the Home Office. That compares to 3,787 in March 2010; or 3,181 when Mr Scott took office in 2016.

And Mr Scott is looking to raise money through local council tax to fund dozens more Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and civilian staff too.

Mr Scott said:

‘My last Annual Policing Survey attracted a record number of responses. What I heard loud and clear was residents were prepared to pay a little bit more for additional resources focused on neighbourhood policing, and on preventing crime and anti-social behaviour.

‘With that mandate I am planning to add £10 to the annual bill of an average household, or 83p a month, in order to raise an extra £8.4million for policing in Kent.’

The Chief Constable has told Mr Scott this additional investment would fund:

  • 36 new PCSOs, including 15 dedicated to crime prevention;
  • 100 civilian staff to train and support frontline officers, including more community liaison officers and digital forensics investigators.

Some of the additional money is required to meet inflationary pressures such as increases to estates and vehicle running costs, and annual pay increases for police officers and staff.

Mr Scott has also required Kent Police to make more than £9million of savings for 2020/21, which the force had already identified.

Mr Scott added:

‘Kent Police is an outstanding force, and rightly has the support of the public it serves. Last week’s crime figures showed our ongoing recruitment is having a positive impact but there is still more to do. This budget plan will allow Kent Police to further increase efforts to tackle county lines, prevent crime in local communities, and give victims an even better service.’

Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said:

‘I have asked the Commissioner to support a number of policing initiatives that will improve visibility, vulnerability and public contact. I welcome the Commissioner’s strong financial support for my operational plans to further improve policing in Kent.’

Currently Kent residents pay the seventh lowest policing precept in the country: £193.15 a year for a Band D home. The PCC’s proposal for a 5.2% increase will be considered and voted on by members of the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel at a meeting in Maidstone on Thursday February 6.

Members of the public wishing to offer feedback on the proposal before the meeting can contact the OPCC.

If approved, the annual contribution for a Band D property in 2020/21 would be set at £203.15.