Police Officer Numbers - Back to the 1990s
Yesterday's announcement of a further 4.9% cut to police budgets could see the number of police officers in Kent slump to the levels of the 1990s. The cut is equivalent to the loss of a further 200 police officers, and that's on top of the 500 already lost under the 20% cuts.
In 1985 Kent County Constabulary, as it was known then, employed 2, 875 police officers. By the end of 2015/16 Kent Police will employ a little over 3,000 police officers.
Ian Pointon, Chairman of Kent Police Federation says,
"The loss of a further 200 police officers is frankly unacceptable. The people of Kent should be hugely concerned about this further reduction. We have already seen police station closures, and heard concerns from the public, particularly those in rural communities, about the lack of a police presence. Well with 200 fewer police officers things can only get worse."
"The number of police officers to police this county is getting dangerously close to the levels of the mid-1980s. Let me tell you, the world is a very different place from then. The population has exploded in Kent; computers and the internet (with all the problems that brings) have had a major impact; mobile phones have increased accessibility for the public. In reality the demands on the police have grown exponentially over the last 28 years."
"I understand that overall crime has fallen, but some types of acquisitive crime are starting to rise. Let me be clear, as important as crime is, policing is so much more than crime fighting. For example, the recent coverage of mental health care demonstrates how police officers are spending a disproportionate amount of time dealing with mental health patients. When everyone else has gone home, policing is all too often the social service of last resort."