Police and Crime Commissioner defends council tax precept rise despite PCSO cuts

Stock image Kent Police

By Local Democracy Reporter Katie May Nelson

Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner has defended raising council tax by £15 a year on average in the wake of cuts to officer numbers.

Matthew Scott said he “deeply regrets” plans to cut Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) which are currently being worked out, but said they were necessary.

The force is trying to find savings to the tune of £14 million, £6.8 million of which is due to come from the Neighbourhood Policing Review.

A consultation with members of staff concluded last week and the Chief Constable, Tim Smith, will make a decision on the options in the coming weeks.

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott

Mr Scott told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The promise I’ve always been given about this review is the model will be as good as, if not better, than the one we have at the moment.

“Of course, I wouldn’t choose to lose PCSOs in this way, but I think what we will have going forward will be positive for visible neighbourhood policing in the county.”

During a meeting of Kent and Medway police and crime panel at County Hall this morning (Wednesday, February 1), councillors reluctantly approved an increase to the force’s precept which features on residents’ council tax bills.

The precept will rise by £1.25 a month  for the average band D household, which works out at £15 a year. This is the maximum allowed under precept-setting rules.

Last year, the increase was £10 a year.

Mr Scott said: “It’s not a decision that I took lightly. I do appreciate the challenges which many people are facing at the moment with increases in utilities and other costs, but the decision came down to, what do I do instead?

“We need the money to maintain policing services in this county.

“There’s a gap between how much income that we would generate from the government and other sources so, unfortunately, it was necessary.

“It’s £1.25 a month, but obviously I know every pound is precious at the moment.

“My commitment is I will make sure it is well spent and we get a good policing service as a result.”

The amount the force will be getting from the government – £700,000 – was criticised by councillors, who also considered the results of the annual policing survey.

Of the residents who responded to the survey and had also reported crime last year, just under half were dissatisfied with the service they received.

Tonbridge and Malling councillor Mark Hood (Green), said there was “reckless underfunding” of the police, adding: “With no support for police staff in the county, that’s left our communities facing a double whammy because not only are we cutting the number of PCSOs, but Kent County Council is proposing to cut a number of community wardens.”

Mr Scott said: “The funding formula that we’ve had now for 15 years is not fair for Kent.

“We’re on the borders of London and the continent, we deal with London’s crime, but we don’t get London’s funding for it.

“That’s not a sensible position to be in. Per head of the population, the Met gets the most funding; we get the sixth lowest and we’re right next to each other. That can’t be fair.”


  1. One wonders if the commissioner has taken into consideration the number of new dwellings that are being built in Kent plus the number of properties that are being converted into flats and commercial developments that are having flats built above them.

    The 10% increase in state pensions has already been wiped out by the higher cost of living. For retired people once the governments heating allowance is removed this will create more problems for the retired and anyone on benefits.

  2. Everyone currently wants more pay but where do they think that money is coming from? For all public services which includes police – and all striking teachers, NHS workers etc – it is from taxation. And people don’t want higher taxation. It’s a vicious circle. The economy has always had and will always have peaks and troughs and unfortunately we have to get through the troughs and enjoy the peak times.

    • Jane, there has been a large change in the demographic, there are more pensioners now who are not working, so not earning or paying taxes! I saw a report recently that there is something like £45 billion in unpaid taxes, why? Over the last 12 years or so public services have been cut and cut by the by Tory governments, and there is nothing more to cut ergo millions are on strike! The Tory’s want to make public services pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, thats their dogma! Since we left the EU half a million EU citizens have left the UK, so they are not paying taxes either!

      • Pensioners do pay tax,if they are over the tax threshold.To say that pensioners do not pay tax ,is an uninformed and incorrect comment.

    • The problem Jane, is that there are too many rich people, just like Nadhim Zahawi and business’s that think taxation doesn’t apply to them. So therefore it is always the ordinary people that pick up the tab. Tax the mega rich and tax avoiding business’s properly and the problem of funding is gone overnight!

  3. I’ve noticed that around Broadstairs alone you don’t see any police, volunteers or other.
    You need to look at cutting back on some of the officers in higher rank.
    As regards all the other cutbacks, you don’t see all those in office cutting back on there expenses, which we pay for.
    All those in office live very good lives thanks to the rest of us.
    There is so much money wasted when it comes to the council.

  4. The police is the one service I don’t support getting more money. Bad recruitment. Bad management, bad results. Staff are a law unto themselves. “Just one bad apple” five orchards later of bad apples we see the same thing.

    Police commissioners are more good money wasted.

    The force needs rebuilding top to bottom. Throwing money at it isn’t the answer

  5. Simple answer-sack these useless & pointless political game playing, bureaucrats like Mr Scott, by abolishing these posts, that we managed without perfectly well without until 2011.

    Therefore every area saves £65-100k depending on the area they run, along with all the costs of their office. Thank goodness the even more pointless waste of money yoof version got axed, after the racist rant winner got the chop & then her ‘safe pair of hands replacement’ was axed after her ‘closeness’ to a former Tory councilor came to light.

  6. Too much money being spent on admin, tick boxes, political correctness and other nonsense rather than coppers on the street.

    I would happily pay another £30 a year to see a greater presence preventing crime, nuisance and disorder and catching and persecuting those responsible.

  7. I don’t know why the police, KCC, local councils etc can’t just be honest and tell us that they are sticking their part up by the maximum allowed and the service will continue to decline regardless.

    Would probably respect them a bit more for at least being honest.

  8. For goodness sake!

    The police are not there to protect you but to protect the status quo!

    Wise up and/or research.

  9. I am mid 60’s now and through my whole life it’s just the same old sh*t.

    Tories run every thing down, schools, NHS, armed forces, emergency services, the steel, coal, car making industry and of course the working class people. But the bankers and the money men make millions ripping the country off. We end with massive strikes and normally riots than labour get in.

    Labour has to try and rebuild the
    schools, NHS, armed forces, emergency services, the steel, coal, car making industry and of course the working class people.

    Which means labour borrow and the debt increases, and around we go.

    All the time people are happy with the Tories screwing the vast majority it will continue.

    Hence for some bizarre reason thanet is a tory stronghold.

    • Correct.

      Working class people with delusions voting for a party who’s hierachy dispise them.

  10. When the voting was done for this role, this guy was clearly a wrong un….. like obviously so…. He said nearly everything he shouldn’t, ran on all the wrong promises…..

    Idiots still voted for him.

    You got what you voted for again.


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