Published: 06:00, 11 February 2020
| Updated: 13:26, 12 February 2020
Kent Police must slash £9 million from their budget in the next financial year.
Around £3m will have to be cut through the force's 'finance savings programme' - this includes improved procurement, reduced IT costs and other back office functions.
Another £2.7m of savings have been achieved through the retirement of long-serving police officers who had reached a higher salary band than those replacing them.
Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said the force were having to be "smarter" to cut costs during a council meeting at Maidstone County Hall on Friday.
Chief constable Alan Pughsley said yesterday: “The police service nationally has faced unprecedented financial challenges in recent years, with Kent Police alone having to identify more than £110m of savings since 2010.
"It has therefore been essential for us to find more innovative and cost-effective ways of working while also protecting frontline services.”
Closures of police stations and front line counters are not expected to take place as part of the cuts.
Other key savings include a £100,000 reduction in police expenses expenditure and a £78,000 decrease in fuel costs while the costs of transport used by police, while their uniform will be reviewed.
The move comes despite increases in the police precept of the council tax in Kent, which is expected to generate around £8.4m from April 2020 to March 2021.
The planned savings were declared in next year's financial budget ahead of last week's public meeting and came as part of a report compiled by the office of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.
Explaining the budget cuts, Mr Scott said after the meeting: "They are to make sure we are able to reinvest all of the money that is being generated into front-line policing.
"Those savings have been identified. I am scrutinising those to make sure that they are fair and proportionate and that they don't cause adverse consequences."
Despite the cuts, Kent Police will be boosted by an extra 181 officers over the next financial year, including 147 as part of the government's planned 20,000 new officers.
The extra police numbers were promised by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in the run up to the December general election, although critics say the 20,000 only represent the numbers that have been cut since 2010.
In Kent, it will mean the total number of officers working across the county is expected to increase to 3,813 by March 31, 2021.
Last week we reported the full scale of burglaries in the county, where they happened and what the outcome was. This revealed a staggering number were left unsolved.
A separate report showed the public was losing faith in the county's force and not bothering to report crimes.
More by this authorCiaran Duggan, local democracy reporter