Earlier today, I was invited by the Chief Constable to join him for the latest passing out parade for new Kent Police Officers.
This was the fifth class of Officers to graduate from their initial training in 2018 alone and this will have been among the first who sent in their applications after I announced that we will be increasing Police numbers by 200 in this financial year.
What I hope you can make out from the panoramic photo is the two substantial classes of new Officers who are following behind them and will graduate in the New Year. What you can’t see is that behind me were the newest of new recruits, two weeks in to their training, known as Class 8 of 2018.
I have been keen to emphasise that this is the biggest recruitment drive Kent Police has been on for a generation and that we aren’t just seeing Officers being replaced who are leaving, but making a substantial commitment to boosting numbers back up again. By the end of January, there will be 271 more Police Officers in Kent than when I was elected in 2016.
And this is being delivered by a fantastic team of Officers and Staff who are going the extra mile to attract new applicants everyday. I am tremendously grateful to them.
My priority is Police numbers and will remain so. The Chief Constable and I remain in discussions about the Budget that I will be setting for next year, as is my responsibility as Police and Crime Commissioner.
I am confident that it will be another positive announcement that will address the issues that residents remain concerned about; increasing the ability to take more criminals off our streets, support victims in their time of need and be a visible presence in our neighbourhoods.
I’ll be announcing my full proposals for you to have your say on in January.
Meanwhile, good luck to the new Officers who graduated today!