Commenting on the decision to increase council tax by 7.4% to pay for the Policing in Kent, Graham Colley, PCC candidate for the Liberal Democrats said:
"I could achieve cheap political points by immediately criticising my opponent at the next election for the increase. No one wants to pay more than they did! However, at the same time, for the people of Kent to have a caring and safe community and the maxim "you get what you pay for", must also be considered.
Nevertheless, it is a large increase for those suffering reduced incomes, because of the inept handling of Coronavirus by Mr Johnson and the Conservative Government. Any increase in Council Tax has to be good value for the people of Kent. If I were the Police and Crime Commissioner, I would have to be satisfied that this was the case.
It is very easy for a public authority to make a case to increase its budget, without providing anything extra. When I was co-chair of Fire and Public Protection on Kent County Council, during a period of austerity, I went through the budget 'almost line by line' to satisfy myself that the money would be well spent. The budget must be looked at from the requirements of the people of Kent rather than the requirements of a local government bureaucracy.
Many residents do not believe they get good value for money now. I believe they want a community policing police force that cares for them, their community and their neighbourhood. I also believe that local people recognise that any budget must be fair to the police that serve them.
I recognise the hard work and commitment of frontline police officers and Kent Police staff who are working in challenging and complex conditions, however any increase in the budget should be based on the needs of the public as well as delivering a better future for Kent Police.
I believe people are prepared to pay for a safer community and to care for their neighbours. I have to be convinced that the proposed budget does this."
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