|Motto||Protecting and serving the people of Kent|
|Annual budget||£409.3 million (2021/22)|
|Operations jurisdiction||Kent (including Medway), England|
|Map of Kent Police's jurisdiction.|
|Size||1,433 square miles (3,710 km2)|
|Legal jurisdiction||England & Wales|
|Headquarters||Police Headquarters, Sutton Road, Maidstone|
|Constables||4,147 (including 311 special constables) (September 2020)|
|Police Community Support Officers||326 (September 2020)|
|Police and Crime Commissioner responsible|
|Stations||20 police stations and offices with public access (7 of which contain custody suites). Plus two special stations.|
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. 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. 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. 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. Ruxton retired on 14 August 1894 and died on 20 April 1897.
Kent County 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.
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.
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". 
Since 1940, Kent Police HQ has been located at Sutton Road, Maidstone. The force announced in 2020 that the HQ was no longer providing value for money and would be sold. The Chief Officer team will relocate to North Kent Police Station. Kent Police College is located on Coverdale Avenue, Maidstone. Kent Police museum is located in Faversham Police Station.
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.
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. This tax increase for 180 additional officers was approved in February 2019 and as of early 2020 have since all been recruited into the force bringing the total number of sworn officers to just over 3,600.
As part of the national campaign announced by the government in late 2019 to recruit 20,000 more police officers across all of the 43 police forces in England and Wales by early 2023 it was announced that Kent would receive government funding to recruit 147 officers in the first wave of 6,000 in 2020 with the other 14,000 expected in 2021 and 2022. Additional funding for 34 more officers was also underwritten by the police crime commissioner bringing the total number of extra funded officers in 2020 to 181. When all recruited these additional officers will bring the total number of sworn officers in Kent to just over 3,800 by early 2021 giving Kent Police its largest amount of officers since the force was formed.
From 1857 to present:
In 2010, it was decided the force's six BCUs would be reduced to three.
Each district has a Local Policing Team for emergency and non-emergency response as well as a Community Safety Unit, a Community Policing Team, and Police Community Support Officers. Kent Police operates the following police stations and offices with public access: Ashford, Canterbury, Cranbrook, Dartford, Dover, Faversham, Folkestone, Gravesend, Herne Bay, Maidstone, Margate, Medway (Gillingham), North Kent (Northfleet), Paddock Wood, Rainham, Ramsgate, Sevenoaks, Sheerness, Sittingbourne, Swanley, Tonbridge, and Tunbridge Wells. Canterbury, Folkestone, Maidstone, Margate, Medway, North Kent, and Tonbridge also have custody suites, Divisional Support Units, Criminal Investigation Departments, Vulnerability Investigation Teams, and Missing Child and Exploitation Teams. Canterbury custody has 15 cells, Folkestone custody has 15 cells, Maidstone custody has 19 cells, Margate custody has 15 cells, Medway custody has 40 cells, North Kent custody has 40 cells, and Tonbridge custody has 19 cells. Each division has a Crime Squad and a County Lines and Gangs Team, all of which form the Chief Constable's Crime Squad. The Professional Standards Department and the Paedophile Online Investigation Team are county wide teams. The Serious Crime Directorate is shared with Essex.
Additionally, Kent Police operates a station at the Bluewater shopping centre with a small three-cell custody suite and a station at Longport near the Channel Tunnel as a dedicated TACT custody suite with four cells. Kent Police is unique in that it operates a station outside of the UK, in Coquelles, France. This will be retained through Brexit.
The Port of Dover maintains its own independent police force, the Port of Dover Police, but Kent Police has statutory responsibility for policing the entire county and takes over investigations of incidents within the port when appropriate.
In addition to the three geographical divisions, the Tactical Operations division, or 'Tac Ops', comprises the Roads Policing Unit (RPU), Road Safety Unit (RSU), Commercial Vehicle Unit (CVU), Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU), Armed Response, Dog Section, Rural Task Force (RTF), Gypsy Liaison Team (GLT), Search and Marine Unit (SMU), and Proactive Tasking Team (PTT). 'Tac Ops' are mainly based at Kent Police Tactical Operations, known as 'Coldharbour' due to its proximity to Coldharbour Lane, Aylesford, and Nackington Police Station in Canterbury. In 2011, the Search and Marine Unit moved from 'Coldharbour' to Sheerness Docks in order to be closer to the water. In 2000, Kent Police opened kennels in Stockbury to be used as a permanent base and training centre for the Dog Section.
The force is supported by the National Police Air Service, the nearest aircraft operate from Redhill, Surrey and North Weald, Essex. Kent Police has a number of qualified drone pilots.
As of January 2021:
In 2019, Drysdale became the first member of police staff in England and Wales to be appointed as a Deputy Chief Officer.
Kent Police has featured in numerous television programmes and fly on the wall documentaries. These include Street Wars, which featured the Medway 'tac team', Night Cops which featured officers from Thanet and Canterbury during night shifts, and ITV's Cops with Cameras which featured the force's Roads Policing Unit on motorway patrol.
In 2019, a three part Channel 5 documentary, Manhunt: Catch Me If You Can, featured the force's Gypsy Liaison Team, referred to in the show as the 'Specialist Tactical Unit', as they hunted down and arrested some of the county's high priority outstanding suspects, or 'red' offenders. Camera crews for the show inadvertently captured three members of the team entering a property in Walderslade and searching for a wanted arsonist without a warrant or grounds to do so, as well as one of them subsequently verbally abusing the occupants. Although the footage wasn't broadcast, it was shown to a Kent Police misconduct panel and the abusive officer was given a written warning.
In 2021, a three part Channel 4 documentary, Undercover Police: Hunting Paedophiles, will follow investigations conducted by the force's Paedophile Online Investigation Team as well as officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit. On 15 April 2019, Russell Cordes, a 49 year old suspected paedophile from Dover, returned to his home to find detectives searching the address and a camera crew for the show filming outside after indecent images of children were downloaded from his IP address. Cordes failed to show up for a voluntary interview at Canterbury Police Station the following day and PCSOs subsequently found him dead at his home on 18 April, he had committed suicide. Cordes' family claimed at the inquest into his death that the officers had 'blood on their hands' and that the camera crew being present was a 'catalyst' to his death. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) cleared Kent Police of wrongdoing but did suggest the force should review the policy of allowing camera crews to accompany officers, footage relating to Cordes will not feature in the show.
The force has appeared a number times in the BBC documentary Critical Incident. The show has featured an incident during which a Kent Police officer was knocked over and injured by a dangerous driver, an officer being attacked with a knife in an address in Ashford, firearms officers pursuing a vehicle, and officers using their belts to rescue a man dangling in Northfleet Quarry.
Officers from the Serious Crime Directorate discussed the 2013 murder of Anne-Marie Birch in the BBC documentary Love You to Death: A Year of Domestic Violence, and the Sarah Wellgreen case the Sky documentary Killer in my Village.
Kent Police detectives and officers were featured arresting numerous fraud suspects in an episode of the ITV show Tonight entitled "Fraud: The Public Threat".
Operation Stack, and more recently Operation Brock have been implemented numerous times over the years by Kent Police under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. Both manage HGV traffic in the event of disruption at the Port of Dover or the Channel Tunnel but remain highly controversial tactics.
On 4 July 1996, Lin Russell, her daughters Megan and Josie, and their dog were attacked with a hammer in Chillenden. Only Josie survived and, in 2001, Michael Stone was convicted of the two murders. Numerous appeals against his conviction have since failed despite claims that serial killer Levi Bellfield may instead have been responsible.
In Feb of 2006, Kent Police investigated the 'Securitas' robbery, during which a gang of six stole approximately £53 million from a Securitas depot in Tonbridge. The gang received over 100 years in prison between them and £21 million has never been recovered, the incident remains the largest cash robbery in the UK to date.
In November of 2007, Kent Police and Essex Police began a search of serial killer Peter Tobin's former home in Irvine Drive, Margate. Two bodies were located, recovered, and later identified as those of Vicky Hamilton, who went missing from Falkirk in February 1991, and Dinah McNicol, who went missing from Tillingham in August of 1991. Tobin was convicted in December of 2008 for murdering Hamilton and convicted in December of 2009 for murdering McNicol.
On 26 November 2009, Kent Police shot and wounded Tomas Uptas after he threatened members of the public in the street with what was later identified as a BB gun and then pointed it towards armed officers in a supermarket in Canterbury. Kent Police later found the body of Loreta Raupiene in a nearby flat, Uptas was convicted of her murder in August of 2010.
On the morning of 5 September 2013, thick fog on the Sheppey Crossing resulted in approximately 130 vehicles piling up. Two hundred injured people were triaged at the scene by South East Coast Ambulance Service and 35 were taken to hospitals in Medway, Ashford, Margate, Maidstone, Canterbury, and London. Eight of these were seriously injured and five had to be cut free from their cars by Kent Fire and Rescue Service. No one was killed but the incident remains the worst of its kind since a 160-car pile-up killed three people on the M42 in March of 1997. Thirty two drivers were offered driver improvement courses as an alternative to prosecution by Kent Police.
On 2 May 2016, Kent Police shot and lawfully killed William Smith after he pointed a single-barrelled shotgun towards armed officers in Goudhurst when they tried to arrest him for murdering Roy Blackman at his home in Biddenden earlier that year.
The Police Roll of Honour Trust and Police Memorial Trust list and commemorate all British police officers killed in the line of duty. Since its establishment in 1984, the Police Memorial Trust has erected 50 memorials nationally to some of those officers.
The following members of Kent Police are listed on the Roll of Honour:
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