Former Chief Inspector, Dave Pate, who retired from the force last year, made his remarks when announcing his intention to stand as a borough councillor in this year’s local elections in May.
He said: “It’s incomprehensible that a busy town, day and night, doesn’t have its own police in sufficient numbers to protect the vulnerable and apprehend the criminals.
“I have been privileged to lead the police in our borough for five years. I want them back locally accountable and a named officer for each part of the borough.”
However, former colleagues of the new Conservative candidate for Rusthall, argue that residents are benefiting from the biggest recruitment drive in the force’s history.
Area Commander for west Kent, Chief Superintendent Simon Wilson said: “Residents and visitors to Tunbridge Wells have a dedicated town centre team of officers that works effectively with partners to promote community safety.
“These officers are supported by Police Community Support Officers and Special Constables who actively seek information and intelligence around criminal activity, disorderly or antisocial behaviour.
“I am confident that both Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge are benefitting as a result of having greater resources overall and having the two districts working together has enabled us to provide additional support to both town and rural areas.”
Political opponents were also not impressed with Mr Pate’s words.
Mark Ellis, Liberal Democrat Councillor for St John’s, argued: “How is he going to do anything about police numbers by being a borough councillor? If he were standing as Police and Crime Commissioner, yes, but the Borough Council has no influence on policing.”
Cllr Ellis said Mr Pate was ‘riding on the coattails’ of his former career and being ‘disingenuous’ to voters.
“He should be concentrating on what he can do as a borough councillor not issues that he cannot do anything about,” claimed Ellis.
Dave Pate lives in Speldhurst and has been selected by the local Conservative Association to stand for Rusthall, replacing current Tory councillor Thelma Huggett.