PCC to increase Council Tax to boost officer numbers

PCC to increase Council Tax to boost officer numbers
Kent PCC Matthew Scott

The Conservative PCC, who is scheduled for re-election in May this year – although it is not yet known if the local polls will go ahead – will invest the extra funds in providing 145 extra police officers for Kent, boosting total police numbers to 3,970 by March 2022.

To pay for the recruitment, Kent Police will receive around £10million from central government but Mr Scott will also increase the local Council Tax precept by £15 per year for an average band D property – the maximum allowable in law.

It comes after Mr Scott ran an Annual Policing Survey through December 2020, which found that 75.12 per cent of the 3,276 people who responded supported this proposed tax increase to pay for new officers.

Police Officer numbers in Kent will have risen by 788 since Mr Scott’s election in 2016.

He said: “I’m delighted to present another budget plan that will see officer numbers rise.

“We have more Police in Kent now than ever before and they are making a difference. Crime is falling. Gangs and county lines are being shut down. Knife crime is lower and more burglars are being brought to justice. We have faced a real financial challenge through the pandemic but in spite of that officer numbers are still increasing and crime is falling.

“And that work has continued as officers, staff and volunteers continue their job of policing through the pandemic – which they have done very well.”

He added: “This plan will mean more police dealing with the issues that residents tell me they want action on – improving investigations, stopping gangs and working with schools.”

The precept increase will be discussed by the Police and Crime Panel next week, where the decision to increase the policing part of the Council Tax precept will or will not be ratified.

However, it comes after Kent County Council has also proposed a rise in Council Tax to shore up its finances in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

County Hall is expected to increase Council Tax by 1.99 per cent  [the maximum allowable in law is 2 per cent] plus another 3 per cent for adult social care services, adding £67.50 a year on Council Tax bills for band D households.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is also expected to increase its share of Council Tax by the maximum £5 per annum allowable, which means residents can expect this year’s bills to be nearly £100 higher than last year’s.

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