There’s good news coming out of the office of Matthew Scott. Kent’s second ever elected police and crime commissioner (PCC) has announced that for £1 extra a month on top of council tax some 200 officers will be recruited for local beats.
It’s a small price to pay for the one thing people consistently say they want from a police force: bobbies on the beat.
Such demands are particularly ferocious in Canterbury where city centre residents complain bitterly about late night noise in the narrow, tightly packed streets.
Speaking at a Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel meeting last week, Mr Scott said: “We’ll be able to recruit up to 200 new police officers next year with a commitment from the Chief Constable that a substantial number of those will go into supporting local policing.
“This will boost the frontline quite substantially. During my Annual Policing Survey around 68% of people said they would be prepared to pay a little more towards policing if it was necessary.”
Translation: Mr Scott is listening. Which is what he is supposed to do as an elected representative of the people.
Compare that to the gimmickry Kent Police itself has an appetite for.
Earlier this month Chief Constable Alan Pughsley announced that he and fellow senior officers would wear the colours of the Pride rainbow on their epaulettes.
It follows the force’s repainting of three of its cars with the same colours last year.
Mr Scott appears capable of understanding that success of his job depends on providing people with a service which matches their needs and desires.
How many of those people, for example, when surveyed would respond that virtue-signalling to the LGBT movement is a priority for their police?
That a police force like Kent would indulge in such posturing serves to demonstrate that the primary concern of senior police officers is image, looking like they are thinking and saying the right things.
It’s a far cry from the “citizens in uniform” Sir Robert Peel envisaged when he set up the first force in London in 1829.
Police forces have become horribly politicised in the last two decades. They appear far too consumed with fashionable causes and pandering to special interest groups than the basics of keeping the streets safe and rounding up villains.
Matthew Scott’s announcement of extra police officers for Kent is huge step to addressing the concerns of taxpayers. Let’s see more of this and fewer smug PR stunts.