I wholly support the proposal announced by our Home Secretary, Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, to extend police powers to cover illegal incursions and make it a criminal matter, rather than just civil. This follows her predecessor’s consultation earlier this year.
As a Police & Crime Commissioner I set the policing pritorities for my county in my Police & Crime plan, I set the Council Tax Precept and Kent Police’s budget and, most importantly, I hold the Chief Constable to account for the performance of Kent Police. We choose the Chief Constables, who serve our local communities.
I travel all over my county of Kent speaking to residents and know too well the deep frustrations our local communities have with the existing laws which are too weak and slow to proffer true protection against illegal incursions.
It is local taxpayers who are left with the bill for enforcing the existing civil legislations and, too often, expensive clean ups.
I have lobbied Government to criminalise illegal incursions and so am delighted with this annoucement to change the law.
This change will give our local police officers the powers they need to protect our communities.
I will hold our Chief Constable to account on using these laws if they come in and will make sure Kent Police has the resources it needs.
Since my election as Kent’s Police & Crime Commissioner in 2016 I have worked hard to drive savings, find efficiencies and boost frontline numbers. By the end of this financial year I will have delivered and extra 450 officers since 2016.
This work has put Kent Police in the best position to benefit from the 20,000 officer uplift pledged by this Government. From a Police Commissioner who has delivered more extra officers than any other PCC in the country last year I can tell you that Boris is right, police officer numbers do matter.
This latest announcement is yet another feather in the cap of a true law and order Government that will side with the law abiding majority.