A further 100 Kent police officers could leave the payroll Police chief says iPads can replace lost bobbies
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Mr Pughsley said: “The £20m will not all be a reduction in police staff. We will take as much of that saving as we can out of the non-people part of the business. But the reality is that some of that will be police officers.
“If I was guessing, it could be anything up to 100 officers off the books over the next couple of years. Of course that could have some impact if we don’t do things differently.”
Investment in new technolology would mean officers being able to remain on the streets rather than returning to the station to deal with paperwork, he said.
He added that proposals to have at least four neighbourhood officers in each of the county’s districts meant there would be “true visibility and engagement” rather than officers “driving around in cars and not getting out and engaging with the community”.
Mr Pughsley said: “The changes in the way we do things will keep visible policing at what it is today. Officers won’t be coming back to the station as much.”
He downplayed concerns over the anticipated arrival of a new wave of migrants from Romania and Bulgaria, saying they were as likely to be victims of crime as much as criminals.
“I have not seen anything that concerns me,” he saidl “It is not something we are missing. We have to engage with all emerging communities.…Those new communities have become victims of crime as well as commiting crime themselves.
“Are there risks we should be keeping abreast of and a careful eye on? Of course there are. But all of that is to make sure that, whether it is new communities settling in or current communities already here, they can enjoy life to the full and be free of anti-social behaviour.”
Mr Pughsley, who has a five-year contract, succeeds Ian Learmonth who retired in December.
New Kent Chief Constable Alan Pughsley