By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan
Kent Police will be required to cut £9million from its budget in the next financial year.
Around £3m will have to be cut through the force’s finance savings programme while about a third of the savings have been achieved through the retirement of long-serving police officers who had reached a higher salary band than those replacing them.
Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said the force were having to be ‘smarter’ in finding savings during a council meeting at Maidstone County Hall on Friday.
Chief constable Alan Pughsley said: “The police service nationally has faced unprecedented financial challenges in recent years, with Kent Police alone having to identify more than £110 million worth of savings since 2010.
”It has therefore been essential for us to find more innovative and cost-effective ways of working while also protecting frontline services.”
Closures of police stations and front line counters are not expected to take place as part of the budget cuts.
But, other key savings include a £100,000 reduction in police expenses expenditure and a £78,000 decrease in fuel costs. Transport and uniform costs will be reviewed and IT costs will be reduced.
The move comes despite a rise in the police precept of the council tax in Kent, which is expected to generate around £8.4million from April 2020 to March 2021.
The planned savings were declared as part of the financial and came as part of a report compiled by the office of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.
Explaining the budget cuts, Mr Scott said: “They are to make sure we are able to reinvest all of the money that is being generated into front-line policing.
“Those savings have been identified. I am scrutinising those to make sure that they are fair and proportionate and that they don’t cause adverse consequences.”
Despite the cuts, Kent Police will be boosted by an extra 181 officers over the next financial year, including 147 as part of the Government’s planned 20,000 new officers.
The extra police numbers were promised by Tory Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in the December General Election, although critics say the 20,000 only represent the numbers that have been cut since 2010.
In Kent, it will mean the total number of officers working across the county is expected to increase to 3,813 by March 31, 2021.