Published: 08:23, 09 January 2019
| Updated: 09:00, 09 January 2019
The policing precept of our council tax is set to increase by an average £2 a month to help fund another 180 officers across the county this year, Kent's police and crime commissioner has announced.
Matthew Scott is proposing the rise to help boost the force's coffers by some £16.6 million and ensure a visible presence is maintained across the county's towns and villages.
Under the plans, which will need to be approved at a Kent Police and Crime Panel meeting next month, the amount the average Band D household will pay in council tax towards policing will rise from £169.15 to £193.15.
The government has provided some extra funding for the force, including an extra £7m in grants compared with last year, as well as a further £850,000 specifically towards helping plan for life after Brexit, but further funds are needed to provide the strong frontline presence residents have requested, the commissioner says.
He claims the tax hike would help pay for things like rising costs of pay and national insurance for officers and staff, pensions, vehicle insurance and general inflation, as well as recruiting another 180 additional officers, and equipping them with the latest technology.
Mr Scott said: "This is not about just replacing those who leave, but increasing officer numbers further to continue the biggest recruitment drive in Kent Police’s history.
"I don’t take decisions to increase your council tax lightly. I always make sure your money is well spent and Kent Police will have to make £10m of efficiency savings next year too.
"More officers will enable Kent Police to catch even more criminals, target gangs and violence, boost visible policing and help more victims.
"My plan means that by next year there will be 450 more police officers in Kent than when I was elected. I'll also have funded over 100 additional police staff posts too."
Feedback on the plans can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday January 29.