An £8.4m council tax hike for policing in Kent has been approved

Stock image Kent Police

By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan

Council tax hikes for policing in Kent will generate an extra £8.4million to boost officer numbers.

The increases will come after Kent police and crime commissioner Matthew Scott’s funding proposal for the next financial year was unanimously approved by councillors at Maidstone County Hall yesterday (February 6).

Under his plans, the amount the average Band D household in Kent will have to pay towards the police precept will grow from £193.15 to £203.15, marking a 5.2% rise from April last year.

The multi-million pound monetary boost will fund 36 new PSCOs, including 15 dedicated to crime prevention. There will also be an uplift of 100 civilian staff to support front-line officers, notably more community liaison officers.

Mr Scott told the Kent Police and Crime Panel: “If you ask residents to pay more, they should get more in return for that.

“My plan provides a balance to meeting the needs of policing in 2020 and the growing expectation that residents have for the services they receive.”

His comments were made in front of more than a dozen district and county councillors, along with senior representatives from Mr Scott’s office, in the main council chamber of the Sessions House building.

The panel was told the police precept increases will help meet inflationary pressures, such as vehicle running costs, as well as annual pay rises for staff.

However, Kent Police will be expected to make cuts of more than £9m despite pledges of extra funding from Boris Johnson’s administration.

Mr Scott said the force would be avoiding front line counter closures, adding: “We are trying to find savings, but police are having to be much, much smarter.”

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott talks about a rise in the police precept for Kent residents

Elected members were also told that the county would be boosted by 181 extra officers between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

A total of 147 of these would be recruited as part of the first-year share of the Government’s planned 20,000 new officers, which was promised by the Conservatives in December’s General Election campaign.

The remaining 34 police officers would be funded through this year’s council tax rise, the commissioner’s report published to the panel revealed last week.

Dover council’s deputy leader Michael Holloway (Con) asked Mr Scott: “Are we getting the justifiable slice of cake from central Government? Given the strategic location of Kent sandwiched between London and Europe.”

In response, the commissioner said: “We are getting more funding, but the formula is still not fair.”

The total number of officers working across Kent is expected to increase from just over 3,600 to 3,813 by March 31, 2021. This represents a rise of 632 officers since March 2016, when Mr Scott came into office.

10 Comments

  1. Well I won’t hold my breath, the residents will pay as always but we never see results on anything TDC or KCC say they will do, the way its heading we will be cleaning the streets, grass cutting, rubbish clearing and so on if services are cut anymore,

  2. For Kent Police to demand a 5.5% increase whilst refusing to do their prime job of preventing crime unless they can find a nice easy hate crime to investigate by interrogating via twitter or facebook is an absolute insult to the people who live here.

    Like most people i no longer bother to report minor crime as I know from experience it will either not be recorded or if I insist it is it will be ignored.

    When one reports drug dealing in plain sight you are told “its not really anything we can do about it”, so off the druggies go, bash up innocent people and then telling the victims they are just too busy investigating hate crime!

    • Tbf if someone is high the last thing they want to do is beat people up. If thy are beating up people its for money which goes on numerous items and sadly drugs is usually one of them

  3. I couldn’t put it better myself, l don’t bother to report miner crime and don’t get me started on drugs as you say they deal in front of you and in daylight as the dealers know no one will do anything about it

  4. The amounts of money look impressive but, then again, we have to recognise that we have had ten years of cut backs in spending so that the country has over 20,000 fewer Police Officers than before. It will take a lot more money than this to get us back to the numbers of Police we had at the end of the last Labour government.
    But, like others, I won’t be “holding my breath” as KCC (Tory-led) are still having to adjust their budget to account for less money coming down from London to keep the County going. So nothing has really changed.

    There has been so much media chatter about Johnson’s exciting new government with all those new MPs and lots of new plans for after Brexit. But the Tories who run KCC know better. They are preparing for MORE reductions in government money and MORE cuts in public services.
    Waving Union Jacks and chanting “Get Brexit done”! was just entertainment for the voters. The Tory councillors on KCC and TDC know perfectly well that none of this is going to end well and they are preparing for even worse to come.

  5. So, with all the tory cuts to public services funding everywhere, but increases in local and county taxes each year. The income taxes and VAT along with all else, where has all this extra money been going this past decade? What have the tories been using it all for? The country is no better off, in fact it is much worse of than when they took over, so where is it being creamed off? Whose bank is it going in?
    We won’t see any difference on our streets with paying extra for non-existent policing and waiting times as long as your arm to get through on 101. No wonder crimes are not being reported when no response is happening. And, why does Kent Police statistics put violent crime together with sexual crimes? Is it to try and tell us that crime is falling in one of these categories? They do not always correlate so should be recorded seperately.

  6. The problems do not arise from cuts but managment incompetence in allowing well trained police officers to be bogged down with micro managed report writing and replacing them on the streets with powerless pcso cardboard cutouts.

    Simply swap them round to have the lesser skilled pcsos doing admin for the trained pcs.

    Not the fault of pcsos or pcs but the layers of money sucking management from middle management to crime commisioners. How much do the cost Kent police?

  7. I’m with you 100% HayGordon,
    Pcsos are cheaper to put on the streets, they haven’t got the powers of pcs so why as you say use them in the stations to type up officers notes /follow up on phone calls, on the front desk you see where I’m going with this, as you say this will release police officers to do what they do best on the streets, then if there is a time where all hands are needed on the streets the officers have the back up of the Pcsos, l have a pcso for my area never seen him /her and I’m not the only one 🤔

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