In the last two years Kent Police have recorded 157 burglaries of dwellings in our district. And 72 recorded burglaries on business and community buildings. In this time frontline Kent Police Officers numbers fell from 2,879 in 2017, to 2,812 in 2018, only to rise by 291 officers to 3103 frontline officers, at the end of March 2019. This is less than the number of frontline officers we had in 2010.
The number of frontline Kent Police Officers pounding the beat, driving cars or undertaking other frontline roles remains below the Home Office official figure of 3,138 in 2010, the interactive graph below shows.
Frontline officer numbers fell from 3,138 reaching there nadir in 2015, when the number of frontline officers stood at 2,689. Since then numbers have steadily increased reaching 3,103 at the end of March 2019. These frontline officers serve a Kent population of 1.8 million. In 1981 the number of frontline officers in Kent was 2,862.
Table F5 Number and proportion of full-time equivalent police officers employed in frontline roles, as at 31 March 2010 to March 31 2019, England and Wales
AS the graph shows, it is not all doom and gloom as Kent Police have had a 9.0% increase or an additional 291 officers added to the force between 31 March 2018 and 31 March 2019. This is the largest increase of the 39 police forces in England. This brings the number of frontline officers up to 3103. Still below the 2010 figure.
Matthew Scott, Kent’s Police Crime Commissioner (pictured) has stated:
There are 271 more Police Officers in Kent than when I was elected in May 2016. There were 3182; Kent Police now has an establishment of 3452. By January 2020, there will be 3632 – a total rise of 450.
He does not make clear how many of these officers will be frontline officers
In the last two financial years 2017/18 and 2018/19 Kent Police in the Shepway District (yes they still call it Shepway) have recorded 5,425 crimes across 131 offence descriptions. In 2017/18 the number of crimes recorded in the district was 2,254. In 2018/19 this rose to 3,171. This is an increase of 40% for crimes recorded year on year. The number of people being convicted across the district for crimes committed is falling when one combines the data provided by Police.uk
So although the number of crimes recorded has increased year on year, the number of crimes being solved has fallen dramatically With less crimes being solved means less people being given some kind of penalty – ie committed to prison. The prison population data available supports this conclusion.
Of the 131 offence descriptions recorded by Kent Police, 49 of them increased year on year, such as trafficking in controlled drugs, assault with injury, other firearm offences, kidnapping, malicious communications, burglaries, theft of phones, theft from pensioners, rural crime and other types of crime all appear to be increasing regardless of an increase in frontline officers.
It would appear from the evidence that a raise in council tax to help pay for more frontline officers in Kent, does not result in a reduction of crime. Individual forces’ such as Kent Police budgets are protected in cash terms which means forces are still experiencing a real-terms cut because of the rising costs of policing, so it has to find savings elsewhere, by closing police stations after 6pm in some locations.
So even with more numbers, better and smarter technology, are Kent Police still a force to be reckoned with? We’ll leave you to decide that.
The Shepwayvox Team
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