Of­fi­cers call for more PCs, not com­mu­nity staff

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - COMPETITION -

AN AT­TACK on the way Kent Po­lice are spend­ing money has been launched by of­fi­cers.

The Kent Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion, which rep­re­sents con­sta­bles, sergeants, in­spec­tors and chief in­spec­tors, is un­happy that a £500,000 grant for the neigh­bour­hood polic­ing fund is be­ing spent on re­cruit­ing more Po­lice Com­mu­nity Sup­port Of­fi­cers (PCSOs) and press of­fi­cers, rather than po­lice of­fi­cers.

Some £369,000 has been used to re­cruit up to 30 PCSOs and the re­main­ing £131,000 is to be used for me­dia of­fi­cers. This, the fed­er­a­tion claims, does not fit with Kent Po­lice’s early state­ments that they would pre­fer po­lice of­fi­cers over PCSOs.

Fed­er­a­tion chair­man Ian Poin­ton said: “We are hugely dis­ap­pointed that the Force has re­neged on pre­vi­ous as­sur­ances about PCSOs.

“This was an op­por­tu­nity to in­crease po­lice of­fi­cer num­bers but they have cho­sen a sup­pos­edly cheaper op­tion. PCSOs may cost a third less than po­lice of­fi­cers but their train­ing, pow­ers and flex­i­bil­ity means they can only do a sig­nif­i­cantly smaller pro­por­tion of the job; that can­not be value for money. Kent Po­lice has cho­sen quan­tity over qual­ity.”

Kent Po­lice de­fended its choice, say­ing PCSOs were al­ready play­ing an im­por­tant role in com­mu­ni­ties across the county, that £250,000 had also been ear­marked for re­cruit­ing ad­di­tional po­lice of­fi­cers and that to im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the pub­lic and its work­force, there would be an in­crease in area-based me­dia of­fi­cers by three to 12.

Ian Poin­ton, chair­man of the Kent Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion

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