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Chief constable makes Kent's 'stand alone' case

Michael Fuller
Michael Fuller

KENT Police has a "sound business case" to justify it remaining as a stand alone force, said its chief constable Michael Fuller.

Mr Fuller was responding to a report which recommended that dozens of the country’s 43 police forces be swept away.

Kent is among forces with fewer than 4,000 officers - named by the reports authors as the "critical mass" below which forces could be merged to make them more effective at tackling major, serious and organised crime and terrorism.

However, with a total of 6,124, including 3,630 officers and 2,508 support staff, Kent, the seventh largest in the country, falls into the borderline category.

Mr Fuller said he is confident that the force’s size, policing performance and track record in dealing with serious crime and border policing will justify it remaining as a stand alone force when the national policing structure is reviewed.

A statement, issued on Thursday, followed a meeting between the Home Secretary Charles Clarke with Kent’s Chief Constable and Kent Police Authority chairman Ann Barnes to discuss the report by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Dennis O’Connor.

A special meeting of Kent Police Authority members on Thursday supported Mr Fuller’s view.

The Authority has said it wants to consult residents, partner organisations and businesses about the future of the force.

Mr Fuller said: "Because of our track record in dealing with more serious crimes and our unique position at the Gateway to Europe, I will be making what I believe is a strong business case that this force should remain a stand-alone independent police force.

"We believe that collaboration, rather than merger, will be the key to giving the public high-quality policing and value for money in Kent."

People can give their views via www.kent.police.uk, or writing to Kent Police Authority, First Floor, Gail House, Lower Stone Street, Maidstone ME15 6NB.

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