New recruits join Tonbridge police force as concerns grow over Brexit
by Andy Tong | 17th October 2018
SIX new police officers have been deployed in the borough as part of Kent Police’s ‘biggest ever recruitment drive’ ahead of Brexit.
The Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott has said that the likelihood of no-deal has to be factored into future plans for the county’s force.
And he has warned that the loss of arrangements like the European arrest warrant, Shengen information system and membership of Interpol will mean the domestic force will resort to ‘clunky old powers’.
The first 34 new officers took part in a ceremonial Passing-out Parade in front of the Chief Constable of Kent, Alan Pughsley and Mr Scott.
There will be 200 new officers in total, on top of a further 240 recruits to make sure current numbers are maintained as existing staff move on.
An additional 80 backroom staff will be brought in across the county to help with emergency calls.
Mr Scott told the Sunday Times: “We are trying to work out what no-deal will mean in terms of resources and then I will be taking the extra resources request up to the government.
“We have got the most amount of strategic road networks and substantial ports. We are going to have potentially dangerous criminals wandering around the Continent.
“We’re going to have to rely on old powers that we still have that are a bit clunky and a bit slow in order to deal with things like the European arrest warrant, which is much quicker.”
Mr Scott’s comments come after a leaked report by the National Police Coordination Centre said officers might need help from the Army after Brexit.
The Conservative, whose father and brother both served in the police force, has been dismayed by the lack of progress over negotiations with the EU on key areas like security.
“I voted Leave, I still back Leave but this is an issue where I can’t see why we aren’t making enough progress,” he said.
“The frustrating thing is Britain has got something to lose – but the EU’s got something to lose too if we fail to address these issues more quickly.”
The increases have been funded by a rise in council tax. In February, Mr Scott increased the 2018-19 police precept so that a Band D household is paying an extra £1 a month.
Mr Scott added: “Residents across Kent consistently tell me they want to see more police officers, being more visible, in their communities.
“I’ve used council tax to invest in up to 200 more police officers this year. We all look forward to seeing them on our streets.”
Chief Constable Pughsley said: “It was a privilege to attend the parade for our newest officers and welcome them into a police force that has been graded as ‘outstanding’ for the way it treats the public and the people who work for it.
“It was fantastic to see the officers showing a great deal of pride in their achievements during the parade and they will now begin protecting our communities and putting victims at the heart of everything we do as a police force.”