Budget cuts signal "meltdown" for policing in Kent
The next 4 years stand to be extremely tough years for Kent Police as an already shrunken budget continues to shrink at an alarming rate. By 2019 the budget will have been cut even further by an eye watering £61M. To put that figure into perspective, £1M is equal to 20 police officers. That's a potential loss of 1,220 police officers on top of the 500 already gone.
Ian Pointon, Chairman of Kent Police Federation says,
"The public has already started to feel the impact of the cuts. Front counters closed; every victim of crime no longer sees a police officer; longer response times especially in rural areas. Over the next four years it's only going to get a whole lot worse. We will have 21st century demands and responsibilities, with 1970s levels of resources. Another £61M worth of cuts will send policing in Kent into meltdown."
"For the last 5 years I have been warning these cuts would have consequences. The Home Secretary can claim that crime is down, but an independent report by the College of Policing rightly highlights that most of what police officers do is nothing to do with crime; missing people; mental health issues; road traffic enforcement; much anti-social behaviour isn't a crime. The reality is demand on policing has not fallen."
"The bobby on the beat is fast becoming an endangered species. By 2019 there could be a mere 2,000 police officers left to police the entire county of Kent, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The current model of policing is simply not sustainable with those figures. Who will be left to target prolific offenders? Who will be left on the invisible frontline to monitor sex offenders and target online paedophiles? Who will be left to deal with the victims of domestic abuse? Who will be left to do surveillance and undercover work? Who will be left for counter terrorism?"
"This is not old fashioned scaremongering. This is reality; it's fact. We cannot continue to paper over the cracks; we cannot continue to rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic. Those I represent are already at or beyond breaking point. If we continue slashing away at Kent Police's budget then I fear for public safety. Policing as the public knows it will cease to exist."