A police recruitment drive means 11 new officers will start patrolling streets across Dover district in the coming months.
Kent Police has recruited heavily since 2016, training 200 news officers in an initial drive followed by the current effort for a further 180. It followed an 8.1% (£23.6 million) cash increase from central government in April – the second consecutive boost – after a campaign by Kent MPs.
Boris Johnson’s Government has since promised an extra 20,000 officers nationwide, meaning an 147 more in Kent over the next 18 months. By March 2021 total officer numbers will be up by almost a fifth (3,779) compared to five years before (3,182).
In Dover, I have been lobbying Kent Police’s Chief Constable for a maximum allocation in the area. Because it’s really important for people to feel our streets are safe and secure. In our area we ensured we were part of a special scheme to tackle county lines, which is when London drug dealers come to regional areas to exploit youngsters.
Yet we need to be tougher on criminals across the board. That’s why I’m delighted our campaign for more resources is translating to more bobbies on the beat. I’ll keep pushing for as many as possible to be deployed across Dover and Deal.
The 11 new officers in Dover include five who are part of an intake of 71 who attend their formal passing out parade on November 18. A further six will be allocated from a previous intake and start patrolling the area in January. Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott says the recruitment is part of wider story of Kent Police improvement in recent years, which have seen three inspections rate the force as outstanding and one rating it as good. Meanwhile PCSO numbers are from 287 to 315, and waiting times for the 101 crime reporting service have reduced from almost 5 minutes to around a minute-and-a-half.