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Shoppers say where police axe should fall

By Gemma Constable


Axing "back office" police and civilian staff is where most people would make savings if they were holding the purse strings.

Police watchdog, the Kent Police Authority (KPA), asked shoppers at Asda in Mill Way, Sittingbourne, where they would save money.

Back office posts were considered the main area for potential savings.

This was broken down into two categories - police officers in desk-based functions such as crime prevention roles at police headquarters and civilian staff such as finance, human resources, research and corporate communications roles.

The KPA will have to find more than £53 million of cuts in the next four years.

Authority member Tom Gates attended the roadshow - one of several across the county this summer - along with PCSO Miriam Gardener.

Ann Barnes, KPA chairman, said: "Our countywide roadshows allow us to speak face-to-face with the public on saving money.

"It's not just the police, but all public sector services are going to have to make financial cuts of some kind. There are some really hard choices to make and we are looking at all the categories.

"It's interesting to note that some people did not cast a vote. It really is hard to cut back on any one area of policing, as they are all so important.

"The authority and force will have to make a tough decision in the autumn, we are expecting to lose 20 to 40 per cent of our government police budget."

This year's total budget for Kent Police, including money raised from council tax, was £285m.

All the information from the roadshows will be fed back to the chief constable, and will be considered at a KPA budget meeting in early 2011.

To vote online visit www.kentpoliceauthority.gov.uk or visit the dedicated Facebook page called Where would you make savings in Kent Police.

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