Michael has welcomed the extra funding for Police announced this week by the Government.
The Police Grant for 2018/19 will release around £450 million extra for policing next year, creating a better a balance between funding raised locally and nationally.
As Kent Police expands its recruitment programme, the new funding will enable the Chief Constable to enlist up to an additional 200 Police Officers next year, thereby boosting rural and road, local community and cyber-crime policing.
Since May 2016 Kent Police has recruited 80 extra Police Officers and protected PCSO numbers at 300, when other police forces have seen reductions. Sir Michael inspected some of the latest police recruits at a passing out parade last October.
The announcement comes weeks after the Sevenoaks MP met the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, to review his funding proposals and press for the roll out of a more effective speed prevention system in villages such as Otford and Brasted.
Reacting to the announcement, Michael said: “While crime rates are falling, criminality is becoming increasingly complex. So it’s right that our police in Kent get the funding they need to continue to protect us.”
Michael recently attended a Swanley FC football training session to show his support for a new initiative to provide young people in Swanley with free access to a range of sports around the town.
The initiative is funded by Kent Police and the Crime Commissioners Office under one of PCC Mathew Scott’s grant initiatives.
The programme is designed to get young people involved in positive activities and provide them with just a taste of what activities Swanley has to offer. Each activity runs for 6 weeks and the Town Council are currently providing Football on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday Lunch Times, Boxing Sessions on a Tuesday Evening and Survival Skills on a Saturday. Working with the local Rugby Club, Junior Rugby Sessions will be available from March along with Tennis provided by a local Tennis Coach.
Michael attended a training session for 5-7 year olds run by Swanley FC coaches. Michael said: “It was great to see such enthusiastic kids even in driving rain. Getting them outside is the key. Let’s hope some will go on to play for local youth teams”.
The funding has so far enabled six coaches to train in Football and Rugby, and 50 young people each week are learning new skills.
In addition to free sports sessions, the funding will pay for equipment such as rackets, trainers and sports strips, and will contribute to the transport costs of getting young people where they need to be.
Michael recently met the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, in Parliament.
The pair reviewed Mr Scott’s recent funding proposals for Kent Police and issues affecting Michael’s constituency casework. The local MP was also happy to hear about the good progress of the new Police Constables in Sevenoaks, whom he had inspected during their Passing Out Parade last year.
Michael pressed Mr Scott to roll out a more effective speed prevention system in villages such as Otford and Brasted. He welcomed the introduction of TruCam – a smart speedwatch system that administers on-the-spot fines to repeat offenders – but called for more immediate action.
Michael said: “Kent Police is getting the funding to increase the number of officers patrolling our streets. But speeding remains a menace. So it’s important that some of this money is put towards rolling out more effective tools for stopping speeders.”
Michael has praised the achievements of local police following today’s news that Kent Police has once again been graded as ‘Outstanding’ for legitimacy. The rating means that Kent Police is now the only police force in England and Wales to achieve the grade three years in a row.
The rating comes just weeks after Michael visited Kent Police Headquarters to inspect the new Police Constables in their Passing Out Parade. Reacting to the announcement, the local MP said: “This is a significant achievement that reflects the police’s ability to maintain law and order in the constituency.”
According to the PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) annual assessment of police forces by Her Majesty’s Inspectors, Kent Police is efficient and effective and is policing the county ‘by consent’.
Inspectors found that officers and staff have a clear understanding of the importance of treating everyone with respect and making fair decisions, as well as being friendly and approachable. It recognises that Kent Police has a clearly defined vision and set of values and has invested in extensive training to ensure the workforce know what is expected of them.
The report concluded that the leadership of Kent Police demonstrates a very positive ethical approach to policing which is reflected throughout the force.
Michael has praised the next generation of local police officers in a special graduation ceremony at Kent Police College.
The parade included a display by Kent Police Dog Section, a March Past, formal inspections and a presentation of awards in which Michael was honoured to have taken part.
The graduates will now be deployed to provide visible neighbourhood policing across the county, including in the Sevenoaks constituency. Michael met the PCs who will serve in Sevenoaks to offer his congratulations. He was also delighted to meet PC Zoe Hill, who previously served as a PCSO in Sevenoaks.
Michael said: ‘It is an enormous privilege to meet the next generation of police in Sevenoaks. They have demonstrated excellence and dedication in order to pass the course and will provide valuable service to our community.’
Michael, who during his visit also enjoyed a tour of Kent Police’s Tactical Training and Firearms Unit, added: ‘I wish them all the best in their careers.’
Michael has hailed the ‘outstanding’ work of the local police force following a recent meeting with the new district commander for Sevenoaks, Chief Inspector Tony Dyer.
Kent Police have previously been awarded ‘Good’ in Effectiveness and Efficiency and ‘Outstanding’ in Legitimacy by HMIC inspectors.
In the wide-ranging meeting, CI Dyer reported on general crime trends, mental healthcare, speeding and specific operations relating to Michael’s casework. Michael was pleased to learn that the force will introduce new innovative measures for tackling speeding in the future.
Michael was also keen to learn more about recruitment following reports that the number of officers and PCSOs in Kent Police has risen earlier in the year. CI Dyer reassured him that recruitment targets will be met.
Michael said: ‘Following a comprehensive meeting with CI Dyer, I am positive about the direction of the force, which has been recognised for its outstanding work, and its ability to maintain law and order in the constituency.’