Tonbridge would be better served by increasing the number of warranted police officers, with particular emphasis upon officers deployed on foot duty within town centres to reduce the fear of crime, and to tackle anti-social behaviour.

PCSO’s were introduced in England and Wales (Section 38(2) Police Reform Act 2002), and whilst they do have certain police powers they are unwarranted and do not have the power of stop and search or arrest.  Colin Hussey, one of Tonbridge Independent’s candidates in the forthcoming KCC elections was a police officer for over 30 years with the Metropolitan Police, so has first-hand experience of policing the streets at the sharp end. The majority of his service was spent on foot and for 17 years his beat was Bromley town centre.

Whilst emergency response policing needs to be undertaken in patrol cars, the policing of town centre areas where there is a higher concentration of people at any given time, is best undertaken by foot patrol officers. The advantages of patrolling police officers on foot are significant but they’ve been deliberately underplayed and forgotten.

Police officers are trained observers; they see things we don’t, they recognise things that are not right and out of place, they know their beat. They know people who should be there and those who shouldn’t. The current policing philosophy is to allow crimes to take place, make no attempt to apprehend anyone and spend their lives watching CCTV in the hope that someone else will catch them. There is a much better way. On street policing is about prevention They can deal with incidences at the time, proactively prevent crime before it happens, gather intelligence by speaking with both residents and traders alike, able to stop and search suspects where appropriate and accordingly make arrests where needed. We’ve been short-changed for years and it doesn’t need to be that way.

PCSO’s cannot stop and search or make arrests. The whole concept was an attempt to get policing on the cheap, to simply appear to be doing something and it hasn’t worked. Between 1964 and 1970 preventive foot patrols were abolished by Home Office diktat, not need, not effectiveness, not even reason, and thousands of police stations were closed, yet police numbers continue to rise. 1950, 44 million people, 63,000 police. In 2018, 66 million people 126,000 police. The 50-year experiment must come to an end.

We want our bobbies back on the beat, open police stations in every town and if you want that also vote independent.  We have to start the fight back sometime.