By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan
Kent households will pay an extra 7.4% on the police portion of council tax bills from April after contentious proposals were were approved earlier today (February 4).
Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said the 1.8 million people living in the county would receive a “good deal” from the force during the next financial year.
The money generated from council tax will cover a range of growing financial pressures, including the coronavirus pandemic, the Napier Barracks in Folkestone, IT projects and new equipment and pay rises, a two-hour virtual meeting this afternoon was told.
Under this, a £6million pressure exists from staff delaying their retirement to continue to serve amid the Covid emergency. On average, 25 people typically retire from the force every month, but only nine did in December.
Defending the hikes, Mr Scott told a panel of councillors: “I do not do this because I like putting people’s council tax up.
“I do it because I think it is necessary to provide the first-class service that people want to see.”
However, some councillors raised concerns about the “value for money” as the annual bill proposals were reluctantly given the nod by 13 out of 16 councillors during a heated meeting of the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel.
In December, Kit Malthouse, Minister for Policing, empowered all UK police and crime commissioners to be “flexible” in setting their tax bill, with the maximum limit set at 7.4% for April 2021 to April 2022.
The maximum increase would generate an extra £288million across England, but police and crime commissioners would be “locally accountable” for the move.
From April, a Band D home in Kent will be expected to pay £218 towards policing in their annual tax bill, an increase of £15.
The police precept makes up around 10% of the total annual council tax bill including the fire service, district council, Kent County Council or Medway.
Concerned over the tax hike, Gravesham Borough Council leader John Burden (Lab), who voted against the proposed rises, said: “Kent Police are a very good police force, but this does not represent good value for money.”
He added: “A lot of the increased costs the force are facing, managing the Brexit process and immigration numbers, remain a national issue and should be paid for by the government.”
He said it was “unreasonable” to ask Kent residents to keep paying for such matters.
Kent Police hopes around 145 new officers will have joined its ranks by March 2022 in a £10million package, paid for by the Home Office. It will mean Kent has the highest number of bobbies in its history, a total of 3,970 officers.
Defending the tax hike, Mr Scott said: “Any money left over will go back into resourcing frontline policing to recruit more officers and staff.”
The more they want , the less they actually do. Itabout time these politically correct muppets did some proper policing , and spent less time and money on tripe like ethnecitity training and getting photographed in gay pride marches.
There is plenty of work to be done in Thanet by some extra policing. The area has never been so lawless. Matthew Scott, how about providing some more resources down this neck of the woods?
Kent police are bloated bureaucracy. Try getting a foil request fulfilled .Scott has no authority or status except as a cipher
It would make no difference if the PCC was abolished except 10% 0ff our council tax…
Rich get richer under this conservative government. Under this clown.
Tory Matthew scott puts up taxes by 7 per cent tory kent county council putting up taxes by 5 per cent. Vote Tory pay more taxes . They treat the public as their own CASH MACHINE!
Labour snowflake BARRY LEWIS voted for and accepted his own increase and then DONATED, yours, the electorates hard earned tax payers MONEY to CHARITY. After KCC saying they could not afford the allowance increase. UNACCEPTABLE.
Labour snowflake BARRY is out of touch and will soon be consigned to history when he’s ousted from his seat (and he knows it), that’s why he’s being a snowflake and rinsing KCC while he can. Double standards, Barry.
Grow up Lewis, thinking it’s acceptable to bash someone or something when all you’ve done is rinse KCC for years and waste it by donating it to charity or on your sham schemes that do not make the slightest bit of difference.
Barry you’re a clown, and most people agree. You wonder why Labour lost the GE and almost wiped out, well you just don’t get it do you…
As a Tory I agree with others, we should get rid of PCC Matthew Scott.
Complete waste of money and Kent Police can function just fine without this glorified person.
Great give them more money to harash Kent resident in the endless search of revenue collection.
Not approved by council tax payers.
Kent police are only there to maintain woke policies and insist they are too busy to deal with crime. Take a look at Cliftonville to see the degradation of an area where crime is ignored.
Get the desk bound officers back on the streets to police the area and put the cardboard cutouts on the admin and if they don’t like it then get rid of them.
Say NO to 7%. Say YES to real policeman on the beat.
Why is this money needed – to fund Boris Johnsons Brexit mishandling, to fund Boris Johnsons Coronavirus mishandling, to fund Boris Johnsons Napier Barracks catastrophe— and a pay settlement for our underfunded officers- a settlement that has been withheld by Boris Johnson mishandling of law and order and the economy.
KCC had no choice- they are being used to shield the real culprits.
not a Boris Johnson fan then?do not talk rot the fire at the barracks was the fault of the people put there no one elses . he got us the vaccines we needed before any one else he delivered Brexit what the chuck more do you want?and I am no Tory supporter show me someone that could have done better and I will vote for them except that is for fence sitting Starmer.
The Tories have after all had plenty of time to start (at least) bringing the police force back to the numbers it used to have.
Let’s hope we see a major improvement in Thanet especially in the bike theft area as we pay more than that increase on our insurances per year due to the crime in our area.