Cllr Osborne is responding to the early results of the constituency-wide Neighbourhood Policing survey that has identified that with Police resources being cut innovative mechanisms need to be explored to increase voluntary participation.
Cllr Osborne has been backed by former Parliamentary candidate for Gillingham and Rainham, and fellow Medway Councillor, Cllr Andy Stamp. Both will be leading on the proposal at the next full Medway Council meeting.
Both Councillors represent wards with significant issues around anti-social behaviour and both have successfully campaigned for improved CCTV camera access in areas of community concern. Both have calculated that it will cost Medway Council approximately £36,000 to introduce the scheme if all officers were paying on a Band D grade; the figure may reduce when only rewarding long-service.
Kent Police have seen amongst the heaviest cuts to front line policing with £20m being cut since 2010. By 2015 we will see a reduction of 500 front line Police officers and 1,000 support staff under David Cameron backed by Tory MPs.
This week has been designated the Kent Specials week as the force looks to add to its 350 officers.
Kent has seen an increase in crime 9% year on year with opportunistic theft, sexual crime and vehicle crime all seeing a significant increase.
Commenting Cllr Tris Osborne said
“As a former special constable I know the hard work that many dedicated members of the community do to challenge Crime and be a visible deterrent in the community. With significant rises in crime noted this year coupled with a decrease in capacity on the front-line I am concerned that rural communities like Snodland, Wouldham, Burham and Eccles in my constituency are feeling exposed”
“ We are calling on all Kent Councils to cost and consider a direct rebate of 50% to act as a driver for recruitment across Kent. I will be tabling this proposal for consideration by Medway Council at the next full Council meeting.”
Cllr Andy Stamp said
“One of the biggest issues Gillingham residents raise with me is anti-social behaviour and low level crime. People tell me they have noticed fewer police officers and PCSO’s patrolling our streets compared with a few years ago. Special Constables are playing an increasingly important role in community policing; they give up their free time to serve the community and it is vital that we give specials the recognition that they deserve.”
“The Kent Police Commissioner Anne Barnes quite rightly set the precedent for a rebate last year, and I hope that there is now a cross-party consensus to extend the scheme and introduce a 50% Council Tax rebate for Specials.”
- Anne Barnes introduced a 10% Council Tax rebate to support Council Tax – May 2013
- Scheme operates in Hull City Council and Trafford
- Cllr Andy Stamp is the former Liberal Democrat PPC for Gillingham and Rainham and Medway Councillor for Gillingham North ward.
- Budget Calculations:Assuming all 350 officers on Band D for Medway Council (£1,377). Kent wide cost (including Medway) is £241,000 and proportionately by headcount in Medway £36,000 (52 officers)