News Food vouchers

KENT County Council issued 31,000 food vouchers to needy families ahead of Christmas. Last year, KCC started a scheme to provide food vouchers to the families of children who are eligible for free school meals. Leader of KCC, Roger Gough

said: “I would like to thank head teachers and their staff who worked quickly to provide KCC with details of their eligible pupils so that we could issue vouchers.” About 30% of schools opted to run their own voucher schemes. The scheme was funded from a

share of the Government’s £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme. Families received a £15 voucher for every eligible child per week of the two-week December holi- day.

Rail bridge hit

SOUTHEASTERN train services were disrupted after a vehicle hit a railway bridge in West Malling. Services were forced to run at a reduced speed between West Malling and Borough Green after the incident in Church Road at about 2pm on January 11.

Extra police ‘just a pre-election stunt’

THE Kent Police and Crime Commissioner’s announcement of 145 new officers for the county has been denounced as a pre-election political stunt. While commissioner Matthew

Scott welcomed a government an- nouncement the force will get the extra staff, Eddie Powell (pictured), the independent borough council- lor for Shepway South, said: “It’s just another political statement. “Tax-payers will be providing

for this. It is certainly not out of the government’s kindness of heart – it’s just a stunt.” Announcing a grant increase of £10.1m for Kent Police, the Home Office also provided an opportu- nity for the PCC to increase coun- cil tax by £15 per year for an average band D property. Should the extra 145 officers materialise, it will bring Kent Po-

recruited or trained yet.” The PCC was unable to say how

many officers will be allocated to the Maidstone area. Cllr Powell agreed with a sug- gestion the numbers would equate to roughly 10 new officers per council area, adding: “It’s piti- ful. Bearing in mind Commis- sioner Scott is standing for re-election this year, we must ex- pect more of these political state- ments and stunts in the months ahead.

“Whilst it might seem churlish

lice numbers to 3,992 by March 2022, more than ever before. A spokesman for the PCC said: “These extra officers are what is coming through the pipeline in the future, so they have not been

to be dismissive of the new offi- cers, frankly, 10 officers wouldn’t be enough to properly police a single ward in Maidstone, much less the whole borough. “If they actually responded to people’s concerns about crime in- stead of paying lip service to us, we might be less cynical.”

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