Kent Police

Kent Police is the territorial police force for Kent in England.

Kent Police
MottoProtecting and serving the people of Kent
Agency overview
Annual budget£257.9 million[1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionKent (including Medway), England
Map of Kent Police's jurisdiction.
Size1,433 square miles (3,710 km2)
Population1.8 million
Legal jurisdictionEngland & Wales
Constituting instrument
General nature
HeadquartersPolice Headquarters, Sutton Road, Maidstone
Constables3,553 (of which 268 are special constables)[2]
Police Community Support Officers377[1]
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible
  • Matthew Scott
Agency executives
Patrol carsGeneral Patrol/PCSO: Ford Fiesta 1.5TDCi.

Emergency/Incident Response: Vauxhall Astra Mk7 Sports Tourer 1.6CDTi & Ford Focus Estate 1.6TDCI. Police/Prisoner Vans: Mercedes Sprinter (Transport), Vauxhall Vivaro (Transport), LDV Maxus (Transport), Volkswagen Crafter (Transport) & Ford Transit Connect (Forensics). Traffic & Armed Response: Volvo V70 (Traffic & ARV), Volvo V90 (Traffic), BMW 530D (Traffic), BMW 330D (Traffic), BMW X5 (Traffic & ARV), Land Rover Defender (ARV), Jankel Armored Vehicle (ARV shared with Essex Police) & OVIK Crossway Armored Vehicle (ARV). Motorcycles: BMW R1200RT (On Road Policing) & Yamaha WR450F (Off Road Policing).

Other Vehicles: Land Rover Discovery (Traffic/Rural Policing), Land Rover Defender (Rural Policing), Mitsubishi Shogun (Traffic/Rural Policing), Ford Ranger (Rural Policing) & Skoda Octavia (Dog Unit).
BoatsHigh speed RIB boats.
PlanesShares National Police Air Service Eurocopter EC135’s and EC145's. Small remote controlled UAV drone fleet.
  • Street Wars; Coppers

Area and organisation

The force covers an area of 1,443 square miles (3,740 km2) with an approximate population of 1,800,000 (roughly 1,600,000 in Kent,[3] and 250,000 in Medway).[4] The Chief Constable is currently Alan Pughsley, QPM who was appointed in 2014. Kent Police was the first force in the United Kingdom to be led by a black Chief Constable, Michael Fuller QPM, who was in office from 2004 to 2010.

Due to the Channel Tunnel, Kent Police is unique among English forces in having a police station outside of the country, in Coquelles, France, staffed by Kent Police. Kent Police work with other UK and European forces as part of the Cross Channel Intelligence Community, helping to tackle cross-border crime.[5] The cross channel traffic occasionally causes Kent Police and the Highways Agency to enforce Operation Stack, controlling the freight flow on that part of the M20 motorway closest to the ports. Kent also has the largest strategic road network of any force in the UK, covering four motorways.

Proposals made by the Home Secretary on 20 March 2006 saw Kent Police stay as a standalone strategic force for Kent; it had been suggested that Kent should merge with another police force.[6]

The Port of Dover maintains its own independent police force, the Port of Dover Police, however, Kent Police has statutory responsibility for policing the entire county and will take over primacy of serious investigations and incidents within the port when appropriate.


On 14 January 1857, a 222-strong Kent County Constabulary was formed under Chief Constable John Henry Hay Ruxton. The first headquarters was at Wrens Cross, Stone Street, Maidstone, and was rented for use by the police until 23 November 1860 when the force purchased it for £1,200.[7] It was responsible for policing those parts of the county not already under the jurisdiction of local Borough police forces.

In 1860, the initial uniform of a frock coat and a high hat was replaced by a long uniform tunic and shako hat and constables were issued with a rattle and truncheon. In 1885 whistles were introduced and in 1897 the recognisable custodian helmet was introduced. In 1974 the familiar Cox Comb helmet replaced the Rose Top helmet with a new helmet plate.

On 1 April 1889, Kent County Constabulary absorbed the borough police forces of Deal, Hythe, Faversham, Sandwich, and Tenterden, five of the fourteen local police forces that then policed boroughs within the county of Kent.[7] The remaining nine were absorbed on 1 April 1943, these being the borough forces of Dover, Folkestone, Gravesend, Maidstone, Margate, Ramsgate, and Tunbridge Wells, together with the Canterbury City Police, and the Rochester City Police.[7] Ruxton retired on 14 August 1894 and died on 20 April 1897.

In terms of mobilisation and communication, Kent Constabulary purchased 20 bicycles in 1896, a number which rose to 129 by 1904. Telephones were given to village police constables in 1925 and by 1931, 29 motorcycles had been introduced, along with one police car. The constabulary employed horses until 1943, when the last was retired. This horse was called Bess.

In 1965, the force had an establishment of 1,988 attested constables and an actual strength of 1,766, making it the third largest county force in Great Britain.[8]

Kent County Constabulary was the last British force to keep the word "county" in its official title. It changed its name to Kent Police in 2002. The main argument for the change was that the large number of visitors coming through the Channel Tunnel and the ports would understand the word "Police" more readily than "Constabulary". [9]

The Kent Police headquarters are located at Sutton Road, Maidstone.[10] Kent Police College is located to the rear of the headquarters site. The headquarters houses the Kent Police Museum.

After years of personnel cuts announced in 2010 and starting in 2011 that saw officer numbers fall from a peak of almost 3,800 in 2010 to under 3,200 by 2016, it was announced in March 2018 that Kent Police would launch the largest recruitment campaign in its history aiming to recruit over 200 more officers over the next one to two years. This was made possible due to an increase in the tax funding the police receive from county residents. The campaign has so far been successful with dozens of new constables passing out in 2018 with dozens more undergoing training into 2019. Once completed the campaign should bolster the number of sworn constables in Kent to over 3,400. [11].

It was further announced in January 2019 that the PCC Matthew Scott was proposing another tax increase in the 2019/20 period in the amount of money Kent Police receive from county residents in order to recruit a further 180 officers by 2020. If this proposal is approved and additional officers are recruited this would take the total number of sworn officers in Kent to upwards of 3,600 by 2020. [12]. This tax increase for 180 additional officers was approved in February 2019.

X26 Tasers were introduced to Kent police in 2009 for rank and file officers, although only Response vehicle drivers were issued with them. Each Response vehicle had to be double crewed with both crew members carrying Taser due to the safety implications, and to allow proper care and control of a Tased individual. In March 2019 it was announced that all frontline officers in a public-facing role who could regularly face violence in the course of their duty will be able to volunteer to undertake taser training and carry a taser whilst on duty if they choose to. [13] Presumably this would mean at least all officers who conduct patrol and emergency response duties would be able to undertake taser training. This measure is partly due as a result of a large increase in weapon crime in Kent and throughout the country as a whole. In 2017 new two-shot X2 tasers were approved for use by officers and have gradually replaced the older single-shot X26 models.

Areas covered (Divisions)

Until November 2011 the force was formed into six BCU's, as shown below:

Plans to reduce the six BCU's to three divisions were drawn up in 2010[14] The new force Divisions came into being when the existing BCU's were formally dissolved in November 2011, they are structured as follows:

Neighbourhood policing will be carried out at a district level with an extra 400 constables transferred into it. Crime investigation and emergency response will be managed at a central level from the Force Command and Communication Centre. Specialist functions will remain centrally managed.

On 6 April 2011 it was announced that the 3 new areas will each be commanded by a Chief Superintendent and Superintendent. Each individual town within each area will be commanded by a Chief Inspector. All emergency response handled from HQ in Maidstone. All response officers will be Standard and Advanced level.

2011 budget cuts

Kent Police cancelled their last scheduled intake of trainees for the Regular (paid) force in February 2011. They were due to commence their training at the end of March.

Future of Kent Police

In a report published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in July 2011,[15] the impact on the number of police officers and staff partly due to the reduction to Kent Police's budget following the comprehensive spending review is as follows:

Police officers Police staff PCSOs Total
31 March 2010 (actual) 3,7872,6733876,849
31 March 2015 (proposed) 3,2741,8583645,496

Senior management structure

As of 5 September 2019:

In December 2010, former Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Leppard left Kent Police to take over as Commissioner of The City of London Police, replacing Mike Bowron QPM.

On 22 March 2011 former Kent Assistant Chief Constable David Ainsworth (then Deputy Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police) was found dead at his home. He had hanged himself.[17][18]

Essex Police and Kent Police set up a joint Serious Crime Directorate (SCD) in 2010, to help share intelligence.

Chief Constables of Kent Police

From 1857 to present.[19]

  1. Captain John Henry Hay Ruxton- 1 April 1857 to August 1894
  2. Major Henry Edwards- 1894 to 1895
  3. Lt.Col Henry Warde- 1895 to 1921
  4. Major Harry Ernest Chapman- January 1921 to 1940
  5. Captain J A Davison- 1940 to 1942
  6. Sir Percy Sillitoe- 1943 to 1946
  7. Major John Ferguson- 1946 to 1958
  8. Lt. Col Geoffrey White- 1958 to 1962
  9. Richard Dawnay Lemon- April 1962 to 1974
  10. Barry Pain- 1974 to 1982
  11. Frank Jordan- 1982 to 1989
  12. Paul Condon- 1989 to 1993
  13. Sir (John) David Phillips QPM - 1993 to 2003
  14. Robert Ayling- 1 April 2003 to 5 January 2004
  15. Michael Fuller QPM- 5 January 2004 to 16 February 2010
  16. Ian Learmonth QPM- 5 July 2010 to 4 January 2014
  17. Alan Pughsley- 4 January 2014 to present

UK TV show Coppers

The 2010 Channel 4 documentary Coppers highlighted the work of the Kent force in two of its episodes. Episode 1 showed the work of the officers and staff at Medway's custody suite and episode 3 showed the force's call centre at Maidstone and the emergency response officers in Medway BCU.[20]

In Literature

The 2010 book Stab Proof Scarecrows [21] is written by a former police constable who served with both Kent and The City of London Police. It is highly critical of both Kent Police and the situation of policing in general. In 2010 then-Assistant Chief Constable of Kent Police, Allyn Thomas sent a letter to every officer in the force reassuring them that senior officers did not give the book any credibility. [22]

Historical and notable incidents

In 2006, Kent Police dealt with the biggest cash robbery in the history of British policing - the Tonbridge Securitas depot robbery. Kent police investigated the theft of £53m, with six men being sentenced to a total of 156 years imprisonment.[23]

In June 2007 Anne Sanderson was shot dead by an armed officer in Sevenoaks, Kent after being seen with what was later identified as a ball bearing gun. It was the first fatal shooting of a woman by UK police in 27 years (and first time ever that the shooting was deliberate). A subsequent IPCC investigation and an inquest jury returned a verdict of lawful killing.[24][25]

Officers killed in the line of duty or while reporting for duty

The Police Memorial Trust lists and commemorates all British police officers killed in the line of duty, and since its establishment in 1984 has erected over 38 memorials to some of those officers.

The following members of Kent Police are listed on the Roll of Honour:

  • PC Israel May - Died 24 August 1873, aged 37 - Beaten with his own truncheon while attempting to arrest a drunken man.
  • PC John Harryman - Died 29 May 1907, aged 29 - Killed by a railway engine while guarding the line for the royal train.
  • PC John Truphet Saywell - Died 1 October 1910, aged 35 - Died during an operation on an injury inflicted during a disturbance.
  • DS George Henry Apps - Died 7 June 1916, aged 34 - Died of injuries received on duty in 1915 when knocked down by a car.
  • PC Charles William Walker - Died 21 July 1924, aged 51 - Died of injuries received on duty when he was knocked down by a cyclist.
  • PC Edwin James Longhurst - Died 8 February 1928, aged 44 - Fatally injured cycling on duty when knocked down by a bus in Canterbury.
  • PC Ernest F. Bradley - Died 18 August 1928, aged 27 - Fatally injured on motorcycle patrol in a collision with another motorcycle.
  • PC Albert Cox - Died 20 December 1930, aged 40 - Died of injuries sustained in January 1930 in a cycling accident on duty.
  • RPC Charles William Haines - Died 20 September 1940, aged 65 - Fatally injured when struck by a car cycling back to his station in an air raid.
  • PC Thomas James Farrell - Died 1 November 1940, aged 38 -Killed during an enemy air raid when bomb splinters pierced his helmet.
  • PWRC Herbert James Chittenden - Died 1 January 1942, aged 41 - Killed when his police motorcycle struck the kerb and overturned.
  • PC Stephen George James Huggins - Died 31 October 1942, aged 37 - Fatally injured by a bullet from an enemy aircraft during an air raid.
  • PWRC Reginald Walter Dowling - Died 8 April 1943, aged 49 - Died of injuries received in June 1942 during an air raid at Canterbury.
  • Killed in enemy air raids off duty or duty status unknown (World War II) between 1940 & 1945

S/Insp George Moore, SC John Olive, PWRC Henry Kettle, PC Ronald Parker, S/Sgt Reginald John Rogers, SC Arthur Edward Potten, SC Ernest Albert Farrow, SC Frederick Walter Heine, SC Richard Daniel Jay Wills, PC Cecil George Constable, PMS Edward John Toomey, SC William George Warner, S/Sgt William Albert Bransby, SC George Ernest Russell, PC Sydney Russell, SC Harry Thomas R. Pankhurst, PWRC Frederick Chapman, Sgt William George Braddick, SC Frederick James Collard, PWRC Albert Robert Gibling, SC Robert Wheeler, Sgt William George Dickinson, SC Frederick Johnson

  • PC Frank Skewis - Died 8 January 1949, aged 49 - Killed when accidentally struck by a car while rounding up stray horses.
  • PC Alan George Baxter - Died 5 June 1951, aged 33 - Fatally wounded when shot by a gunman being sought by police.
  • PC Hubert Stanley Pay - Died 4 November 1951, aged 25 -Fatally injured travelling to work when his motorcycle hit a lorry.
  • T/Sgt Gerald Thomas P. Rooney - Died 14 March 1956, aged 24 - Shot dead by terrorists, on duty with the British Police Unit in Cyprus.
  • PC Peter W. Child - Died 27 January 1964, aged 27 - Killed on a driving course when the police car he was in crashed.
  • PC Robert Archibald Beattie - Died 5 July 1965, aged 41 - and
  • PC Robert Alfred John Knight - Died 5 July 1965, aged 29 - Killed when their patrol car was hit head-on by a car on the motorway.
  • PC George Craig - Died 21 May 1967, aged 36 - Killed on motorcycle patrol when he ran into an unlit lorry at night.
  • PC Phillip Alan Long - Died 28 June 1968, aged 22 - Fatally injured in a road accident while on motorcycle patrol.
  • DC Roger Gardiner - Died 26 May 1972, aged 36 - Killed while driving a police vehicle when he lost control and hit a tree.
  • PC Malcolm John Boakes - Died 21 October 1973, aged 31 - Killed while travelling to duty when a load fell off a lorry onto their car.
  • PC John Francis Ryan - Died 21 October 1973, aged 33 - Killed while travelling to duty when a load fell off a lorry onto their car.
  • DS Charles Edward Brisley - Died 20 April 1978, aged 47 - Fatally injured when struck by a lorry trailer on duty in Folkestone harbour.
  • Sgt George Frederick Matthew - Died 16 June 1983, aged 42 - Killed on motorcycle patrol when his machine collided with a lorry.
  • PC Duncan Watts Clift - Died 24 March 1991, aged 27 - Run down and fatally injured trying to stop a stolen car while off duty.
  • PC Alexander Gordon Doe - Died 18 May 1993, aged 44 - Killed on an advanced motorcycle course when his machine crashed.
  • PC Jonathan Bruce Odell - Died 19 December 2000, age 30 - Run down and killed by a speeding vehicle he was attempting to stop.[26]
  • PC Katie Louise Mitchell - Died 3 October 2007, age 39 - Killed in a motorcycle accident while travelling to duty at Tonbridge.
  • PC Phillip Edward Pratt - Died 14 June 2009, aged 26 - Killed when struck by a vehicle while protecting the scene of an accident.[27]
  • DS Terry Easterby - Died 25 February 2011, aged 44 - Died in a motorcycle collision while travelling to report for duty at Medway.[28]

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 April 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "Tables for 'Police workforce, England and Wales, 30 September 2018". HM Government. Office for National Statistics. 30 September 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. "The Cross Channel Intelligence Community (CCIC)". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  6. "Police forces 'to be cut to 24'". BBC News. 20 March 2006. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  7. "Kent Police Museum - History". Archived from the original on 12 June 2007.
  8. The Thin Blue Line, Police Council for Great Britain Staff Side Claim for Undermanning Supplements, 1965
  9. "Official name change for county's police". Kent Online. 30 August 2002. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  10. "Write to us, Kent Police". Kent Police. Archived from the original on 23 August 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  11. "Police news". Kent Police.
  12. "Police news". Kent PCC.
  13. "More kent officers to be trained to use taser". PFOA.
  14. "Kent Police - Page not found". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011.
  15. HMIC (July 2011). Valuing the Police: Preparedness Inspection - Kent Police.
  16. "Alan Pughsley QPM - Kent Police". Archived from the original on 5 May 2014.
  17. "Wiltshire deputy chief constable David Ainsworth dead". BBC News. 22 March 2011.
  18. "Ex-police chief David Ainsworth found dead". Kent Online.
  19. "Kent Police Museum - Kent's Police Museum covering 150 years of policing history". Archived from the original on 5 February 2007.
  20. "Coppers". Channel 4.
  21. Lance Manley. Stab Proof Scarecrows. ASIN 1516927184.
  22. "Kent Police". Letter From ACC Allyn Thomas.
  23. Taylor, Matthew (2 June 2010). "Securitas robbery mastermind Lee Murray jailed in Morocco". The Guardian. London.
  24. "Police face action over shooting". BBC News. BBC. 30 December 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  25. Police use of firearms in the United Kingdom#Fatal incidents
  26. "Driver jailed for killing traffic Pc". BBC News. 12 June 2001.
  27. "Colleagues pay tribute to police officer killed on A249". Kent Online.
  28. "Off-duty officer's tragic death". Kent Online.
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