Further to the 1 February meeting, thank you for the Panel’s report on my refreshed ‘Making Kent Safer’ Plan and proposed precept for 2023/24.
I am pleased the Panel were supportive of my refreshed plan and would like to express my thanks for their comments. I am confident the priorities remain the most relevant for Kent Police and our county and continue to have the broad support of residents. I am also reassured that the national policing requirements are reflected in the plan, including the Beating Crime Plan and ongoing work to tackle violence against women and girls.
I am also grateful to the Panel for approving my proposed 6.57% increase in the police precept - equivalent to £15 per year for an average Band D property. Whilst a very difficult decision, particularly in light of the considerable cost-of-living increases facing Kent residents, a necessary measure to help mitigate the impact on frontline services of a shortfall in Government funding and significant inflation.
We should also not lose sight of the fact that due to previous precept increases that were supported by the Panel, and extra funding from the Government’s Uplift Programme, police officer numbers have risen by 963 since 2016. Kent will soon have 4,145 officers - the highest number in its history helping to manage current and future demand, and ultimately make Kent safer.