First of all, thank you to everyone who sent Nina and I good wishes following the birth of our first child. Georgina is nearly four weeks old already and both Mum and baby are doing well.
On Wednesday 27 September, I discharged my duty to hold the Chief Constable to account at one of my regular Performance and Delivery Boards. At this meeting we talk about the Force’s performance, how my Police and Crime Plan is delivered, collaboration and staff welfare issues.
The following day, I went to the latest meeting of the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel. The Panel is made up of councillors and independent persons, and its role is to support me in holding the Chief Constable to account. Members review the decisions I take and certain statutory requirements such as my Annual Report, the Force accounts and some Office appointments.
I know that the Government’s decision to award a 1% pay rise is disappointing and that the offer of a 1% bonus doesn’t reflect the pressures you face. I believe the rise should have at least matched the rate of inflation, and that the funding should have come from the Government’s central allocations. However, the Chief Constable and I will find the money in order to honour this award for both Officers and Staff this year, and I am working hard to make Kent’s case for a fairer settlement in future years.
Meanwhile, schoolchildren across Kent are to receive extra lessons in online safety thanks to money I have provided. The Whitstable-based Amelix Group, in conjunction with Kent Police, will use a £31,335 grant to continue to deliver safety lessons in schools covering subjects including online grooming, sexting, cyber-bullying and trolling on social media. I am also developing a new survey of local children on the subject of cyber-bullying.