A “modest” £1 a month council tax rise will pay for extra police on the county’s streets, says the Kent police and crime commissioner.
Matthew Scott insists residents are content with the increase, which will fund an officer recruitment drive.
He told the Canterbury Journal that he is answering demands for more visible policing on Kent’s streets.
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“I’ve recently increased the policing part of residents’ council tax bills by a modest £1 a month on average, empowering Kent Police to embark on its biggest recruitment drive for a generation,” Mr Scott said.
“I did not have to do this, but residents told me they were willing to pay a little bit more to boost police officer numbers.
“As a result the force is recruiting an additional 200 police officers this year to make us safer in Kent.
“More than half of those extra officers will go into local policing teams, as well as rural and roads policing teams, and I’ve received assurances from the hief constable that Kent Police will be more visible as a result.”
Mr Scott is a former Conservative councillor on Bexley Council. He was elected commissioner in May 2016 and replaced Ann Barnes.
He says he understands that anti-social behaviour remains a major problem for cities such as Canterbury and that he is determined to play his part in reducing it.
“I have made fighting anti-social behaviour a priority for the chief constable to deliver,” Mr Scott said.
“I hold him to account for that, including in public at my Performance and Delivery Board, and I’m pleased to report that anti-social behaviour is down by 11% across Kent.
“I’ve also increased the amount I give to the Canterbury Community Safety Partnership to help provide diversionary activities for young people and prevent re-offending.
“Of course, I am never complacent and I encourage any Canterbury residents who experience anti-social behaviour in their town to ensure they report it so it can be dealt with.”
Mr Scott added that there is other work going on to improve policing in the county.
He said: “Besides the ongoing recruitment drive, which will see both myself and Kent Police out and about at various community events this summer, there is a lot of work going on to ensure Kent Police is equipped and resourced to meet the emerging challenges that policing faces.
“For example, fraud now accounts for more crime than all other crime types put together, and these can be among the most complex cases.
“With my support, Kent Police now has a growing cyber crime unit to investigate these cases and also to offer advice to people on how to stay safe online.”