Chief constable says he will recruit staff despite the cuts
PUBLISHED: 15:32 12 April 2012
»Kent Police announced they intend to recruit scores more staff despite being in the middle of a four year process of cutting 500 officers and 1,000 civilian staff.
This year the force will save between £1m and £1.5m following a series of cost-cutting measures, which is the equivalent of up to 44 constable posts.
Chief constable Ian Learmonth said: “I imposed a recruitment freeze before the savings we needed to make were announced and our collaboration work with Essex Police has delivered further savings.
“Restructuring our policing models and streamlining back office roles has meant I have been able to put more officers into neighbourhoods, focusing on reducing crime and delivering a high quality, professional service to the public in Kent.
“We recruited 20 new officers earlier this year and will be looking to recruit further in the autumn.”
Despite the claim Kent Police is still committed to cutting almost 500 police officer roles by 2015 with 225 posts already lost since June 2010.
Following last week’s announcement that up to 44 posts will be refilled that leaves at least 466 posts that will be cut in total.
Ian Pointon, chairman of the Kent Police Federation, said he met with Mr Learmonth this month where he confirmed that Kent Police were only halfway through the job cuts.
Mr Pointon claims the news of new officers being recruited was misleading.
He said: “This is not about more police officers, at best it is about losing slightly less. As people leave they are not replaced. There is not going to be as many cuts as they thought there would be but we are still in the region of losing around 500 police officers by 2015.”
The federation also argued that the savings came at the expense of the pay of current police officers. On April 1, pay cuts and the suspension of some pay rises were brought in as part of the savings measures across the force following the Winsor review of police pay.
Mr Pointon added: “Officers feel as if their pockets have been picked and will view the force’s announcement as a smack in the mouth.”
Kent Police began the process of cutting staff in 2010 to make 20 per cent savings of £53m.