BUDGET cuts and mounting challenges have led Kent’s Police Crime Commissioner to propose a hike in council tax in order to fund the force.
Matthew Scott is requesting a 3.3 per cent rise in the policing precept, equivalent to £5 for an average Band D household, as the Home Office cuts £2million from the Kent Police budget. It costs around £313million a year to run the force.
Describing it as a ‘difficult’ but ‘fair and reasonable’ proposal, the additional money has been earmarked to ensure police response times to a terrorist attack are sharpened, more police officers are recruited and the county’s PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) are retained.
Other priorities will be handling the rise in domestic abuse cases, improving the visibility in the community and setting up dedicated teams to tackle fraud and cyber-crime.
However, continuing uncertainty over future funding levels means Mr Scott has decided to support the force with up to £5million from reserves. He said this does not ‘absolve’ the force from making savings but allows them to be made over a longer period.
He added: “My proposal is about not standing still. I will be doing my bit as Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure Kent Police delivers an effective and efficient service to the residents of Kent and Medway.”