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Kent crime commissioner Matthew Scott planning to recruit more police officers

By Paul Francis

Kent crime commissioner Matthew Scott has announced plans for 200 more police officers to be recruited next year.

The additional numbers represent one of the biggest recruitment drives in recent years and follows a period in which the force has had to make substantial cuts in its budget.

The extra police officers will come at a price, however, and council taxpayers will face higher bills to meet the costs.

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Police officers on the beat. Picture: Thinkstock Image Library.
Police officers on the beat. Picture: Thinkstock Image Library.

Under the draft budget plans which the crime commissioner Matthew Scott has unveiled today, 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.

In addition, £5 million from the force’s reserves will be earmarked for recruitment if needed.

And the commissioner said he was cutting £200,000 from his own office expenditure.

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.

Matthew Scott, Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner
Matthew Scott, Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner

Mr Scott said: “I have listened to residents’ views about crime reporting, and so there will be a boost in the number of call handlers answering 999 and 101 calls, so that people can get help quicker and more information can be provided to the Police.

This will be alongside the new online reporting service, which is available for certain issues for those who wish to use it.

"There will be over 80 new police staff roles that will cover this.”

The plans form part of the proposed budget for the police force next year and Mr Scott said he hoped that residents would back the spending plans, which will go out to public consultation.

Proposals for over £9m of savings would go ahead as they would have a minimal impact on the frontline, he said.

Views on the proposed budget can be sent by email to haveyoursay@pcc.kent.pnn.police.uk up to January 27.

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