Dozens of armed police on way
Force boss says Paris terrorist attacks meant more firearms officers needed
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.
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Police are recruiting 37 more armed officers