More Neighbourhood Police Officers

Kent Police is dramatically increasing the number of officers in its neighbourhood teams.

An extra 500 sergeants and constables will join the teams across Kent and Medway, bring the total number to more than 800.

Plans for the increase were announced in February when Chief Constable Ian Learmonth said he was determined to protect 'front line' police, despite having to make £53million of budget cuts over the next four years.

Kent police say neighbourhood policing is at the heart of the redesigned policing model for Kent and these officers now have a broader role. They will have some local investigative responsibility and will attend scheduled calls, as well as continuing to deal with local problems.

Today, a new single, non-emergency number has also been unveiled for people to contact officers with reports of crimes including stolen cars, damage to property or minor crashes.

Anyone calling 101 from the Kent policing area will be answered by a call operator from the Kent Police Force Control Room.

Officers say it will make it easier for people to call them to pass on information about crime and disorder in their neighbourhoods, and will also reduce pressure on the 999 system, allowing officers to prioritise the most urgent calls for help.