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More Kent Police jobs could still go despite council tax rise announced by commissioner Ann Barnes

07 February 2014
by Paul Francis
The cost of policing the county is to go up for council taxpayers by just under 2%, the Kent crime commissioner Ann Barnes has announced.
It will mean household bills for the police element of the council tax rising on average by £2.81 to £144.27.
But despite the rise, the commissioner warned it might not be enough to safeguard jobs and more police officers could have to go.
Kent police commissioner Ann Barnes

Kent police commissioner Ann Barnes

It is the second successive tax hike the commissioner has imposed.
Mrs Barnes had suggested this week she wanted an increase of 3.5% to help retain more officers on the beat, but would only do so if it did not trigger a public referendum.
The government has now confirmed its threshold for a public vote on any rise is 2%.
Mrs Barnes said: "I am reluctantly proposing a £2.81p increase per household... which is in line with inflation and means there will be no growth in police officer numbers – we remain with the status quo."
"Visible policing is very dear to my heart because I really do care about the service the taxpayer receives..." - Kent Police commissioner Ann Barnes
The squeeze on police budgets as part of the government's austerity drive has meant the force has had to make £50million in savings, equating to around 700 staff and 500 officers over a four year period.
From 2015, there will be a second round of cuts – that could be as much as £20million – meaning further job losses.
Mrs Barnes added: "Visible policing is very dear to my heart because I really do care about the service the taxpayer receives. Losing more officers will absolutely be the last resort and I will make sure that Kent Police looks at every possible way to save money and to find efficiencies."
But she warned the stark reality was "some posts would be wiped off the books".
Mrs Barnes added: "I honestly mean it when I say I'm heartbroken to have to ask the people of Kent for a little more money, but this shows just very how hard it is for public sector services at the moment."
Council taxpayers will contribute about £82m to the force budget of £280m.

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