Published: 00:01, 08 February 2018
Plans by Kent crime commissioner Matthew Scott to recruit 200 more police officers next year have been given the go-ahead.
The proposal came under scrutiny by the Kent and Medway crime panel this morning, which has the role of signing off the commissioner’s budget.
The panel quizzed the commissioner over the recruitment drive - which will mean an increase in the police part of the council tax.
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Kent crime commissioner Matthew Scott said many of those recruited would be deployed in local teams, partly to address concerns that the public often said they did not see many officers on the beat.
He acknowledged that recruiting an extra 200 officers would be a challenge, saying that they could not be magicked out of nowhere.
The additional numbers represent one of the biggest recruitment drives in recent years and follow a period in which the force has had to make substantial cuts in its budget.
Under the draft budget plans the bill for policing will cost taxpayers an extra £1 a month.
This year, the average bill for the police tax was £157.15. This would rise to £169.15 in 2018-19.
Speaking after the decision was made, Mr Scott said: "I am really pleased that the Police and Crime Panel has supported my budget for next year, which will mean up to 200 more fully warranted police officers, a boost for local policing and investment in 101, as well as continuing to protect our 300 PCSO posts.
"Please encourage anyone you know who is interested to apply at www.kent.police.uk/jobs for the new officer and staff roles."
Speaking about his plans last October, Mr Scott said: “These officers will go into boosting a number of areas, including rural and roads policing, local communities, fighting cyber-crime and providing greater public protection and will take the total number of police officers in Kent to its highest level since 2012.”
There will also be a boost in the number of staff dealing with 999 emergency calls and calls to the 101 service.
Proposals for more than £9 million of savings would go ahead as they would have a minimal impact on the frontline, he said.
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