Officers call for more PCs, not community staff
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