Dozens of armed po­lice on way

Force boss says Paris ter­ror­ist at­tacks meant more firearms of­fi­cers needed

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - What’s On - By Paul Fran­cis

Kent Po­lice will be re­cruit­ing 37 more firearms of­fi­cers af­ter plans for a 3.4% hike in the amount res­i­dents will pay in their bills this year was given the go-ahead.

Kent crime com­mis­sioner Ann Barnes se­cured ap­proval for her bud­get from the Kent and Med­way Crime Panel this week. The panel has by law the job of ap­prov­ing the force bud­get.

The spend­ing plans will mean av­er­age bills for homes in Band D ris­ing £5 to £152.15 from April.

Mrs Barnes said: ‘“The ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Paris last Novem­ber were a game changer.

“The Home Sec­re­tary asked po­lice forces across the coun- try to in­crease their firearms ca­pa­bil­i­ties by up to 50% and £1.2 mil­lion of the ex­tra money will help pay for the ex­tra of­fi­cers Kent Po­lice needs to do this. Money will still have to be found to re­cruit, train and equip them, though.”

Cllr Mike Hill, the chair­man of the Kent and Med­way Crime Panel, said: ‘“I find the case for in­creas­ing the pre­cept by £5 com­pelling, and I’d like to con­gratu- late the force for its good fi­nan­cial man­age­ment.”

There had been fears that threat­ened govern­ment spend­ing re­duc­tions would force the po­lice to make sweep­ing cuts.

But Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne an­nounced last year that he was scrap­ping planned cuts.

De­spite the re­prieve, the force will still have to save £33m over the next four years – the equiv­a­lent of a 12% real terms cut.

This year, it will have to save £8.7m. Of this £2.5m will be saved through staff turnover with sup­port ser­vices ac­count­ing for a fur­ther £1.6m. The Home Sec­re­tary Theresa May has told forces she ex­pects forces to col­lab­o­rate to save money.

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@ thek­m­

Po­lice are re­cruit­ing 37 more armed of­fi­cers

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