Kent

Survey finds Kent Police officers' crime fear

Hundreds of Kent Police officers fear crime will rise in the county if the force cuts 1,000 staff and 500 officers, according to a survey.

Many respondents to the Kent Police Federation survey said they would consider leaving the force if the planned £53m savings go ahead.

Chief Constable Ian Learmonth said he understood why officers were feeling "unloved and vulnerable".

But he said a cut in officers did not necessarily mean that crime would rise.

The federation, which represents rank and file officers, said about 1,540 of its 3,600 members responded.

'Very sensitive'

About 87% of respondents felt crime would rise and the service to the public would fall while 98% said morale has fallen over the past year.

In addition, 87% said they think the cuts will have such a detrimental effect that officers will want to leave.

Ian Pointon, chairman of the Kent Police Federation, said the survey was a reflection of "professional people on the front line".

He said: "You can't just take out 500 police officers and 1,000 police staff and think that things are going to carry on as normal."

Mr Learmonth said: "No one would be surprised that police officers and police staff are feeling unloved and not listened to.

"These changes are unprecedented. I've got 34 years policing and I've never known changes of this magnitude so it's not surprising that officers are feeling very sensitive at the moment."

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