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Kent
Special Constables Form Rural Team in West Kent
Kent
A new team of officers has been formed in the west of the county to focus specifically on policing rural areas.
   
Special Constables Form Rural Team in West Kent
   

Nine special constables have formed a rural policing team, and will be responsible for building on existing relationships with farmers and businesses in rural areas of the county. The officers will also provide crime prevention advice, a more visible policing presence, and support proactive operations to target criminals who are operating within rural communities. The officers will be focus on assisting with policing rural areas including; Marden, Staplehurst, Headcorn, Snodland, The Valley of Visions, Borough Green and Wrotham, Westerham, Brasted, Edenbridge, Cranbrook, Hawkhurst and Goudhurst. Similar teams operate in rural areas of the north and east of the county too.

Special constables have full police powers, full uniform and equipment, and work alongside regular police officers in a voluntary capacity.

Special constables are required to volunteer a minimum of 16 hours per month to performing operational duties, as well as attend training sessions. Candidates must be 18 years of age or above, and meet the required fitness and medical standard.

The rural team is not the first specialist team of volunteer officers to be formed at Kent Police. The force has a Specials Roads Policing Unit, which provides support to regular traffic officers in policing the county’s road networks in both marked and unmarked cars, and a marine team is also in place to assist with policing the county’s coastline.

Ian Learmonth, Chief Constable of Kent Police, said: “We have got so many different skills sets within the special constabulary, many of whom have particular expertise in rural issues, so it makes perfect sense to utilise them in this way to the benefit of both the force and the community. We have a rural partnership team of regular police officers and this new team of specials can work alongside them, and contribute their own knowledge and skills to help further improve this team. I’m really excited to see how the team develops, and the feedback from the rural community so far has been really positive.”

Inspector Maxine Martin is responsible for policing of the east of Maidstone, including Headcorn. She explained: ‘The impact of the rural specials has been fantastic. I’ve been to a number of public meetings in Headcorn where residents have fed back that they feel safer and that local community issues have been resolved. The officers have also noted how many people approach them in the street to thank them for their presence and to pass on information. Their presence has been a resounding success, and I’m really looking forward to embedding officers into other rural areas.’

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