New Kent Police Commissioner Ann Barnes takes office today
Ann Barnes is sworn in as
Kent's first Police Commissioner
by political editor Paul
The first elected Kent Police Commissioner has taken a
formal oath today in a ceremony marking the start of the four-year
Ann Barnes, who
swept to victory on Friday as an independent candidate
and is a former Kent Police Authority chairman, committed
to acting with "integrity and due diligence" in her role.
Calling the people of Kent her "number one priority",
she promised a shake-up - but in a "creative and challenging
The oath was drawn up by the Home Office and is designed to
ensure commissioners act independently and work towards cutting
crime and protecting the public.
As the commissioner, she will have the power to control the
force's budget of £274million, decide the level of council tax
precepts, set policing priorities as well as hire and fire the
Speaking immediately after her victory, Mrs
Barnes vowed to ensure Kent enjoyed more visible policing.
She said: "The number one priority for the people of Kent is
visible community policing.
"It is hard but I will fight any more cuts to our budget because
cuts to funding will mean cuts to neighbourhood policing and I will
not stand for that and neither will the people of Kent."
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