Council tax is set to rise by around £12 a year to pay for more than 200 additional officers at Kent Police.

The hike is also set to pay for 80 call handlers for the 101 and 999 services.

This will add £12 to the bill of Band D council tax payers.

Despite councillors voting unanimously in favour at the Kent and Medway Crime Panel today (February 8), councillors raised concerns about the Police Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) plan to fund the recruitment by draining the “rainy day funds”.

The force’s reserves, which are often used to pay for unpredictable events such as ‘Operation Stack’ or terrorist attacks, is set to shrink from £61.5 million to £44.96 million.

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said: “I don’t take decisions about council tax lightly since I know where this money is coming from.

"With this plan, people in Kent will get something for their money.

“In our survey, 68 percent said they would pay a little bit more in council tax if necessary and this proposal is necessary.”

Mr Scott added that a recruitment drive to hire additional staff would see Kent Police working “harder than ever”.

“There is a huge recruitment challenge and we will have to work hard," he said.

"You will see passing out parades bigger than we have ever done before.

“But we are aware of our current vacancies. I would like everyone to know ‘we are open for business and we are hiring’.”

Shepway councillor Malcolm Dearden said he welcomed the plan to increase the amount of officers but asked for assurance this would mean more police on the street.

He said: “By my calculations, we will have 15 new police officers per district but at the moment we never see these police officers.

“I would like to see more of these on the street. Are these 200 police officers going to be used for the high harm issues as well as the rural crime and road crime?”

Mr Scott told the meeting in Maidstone that he would have monthly meetings with the chief constable to ensure police officers are being places in “high visibility roles”.

He said: “I understand that the community wants to see the local police and increase in presence and response to crimes but I am not in charge of allocating police officers.

“I will keep the chief constable into account to make sure that police officer are being placed in high visibility roles.

“On top of this, rural and road police officers are becoming more and more proactive on social media.”

He also added he plans to keep the county's 300 PCSOs and ensure they go to more community meetings to increase their “visibility”.

While councillors voted unanimously to approve these plans, Cllr Dearden, among others, shared fears that this plan would drain reserve funds and leave the force vulnerable following Brexit.

He said: “There’s going to be, with every chance, following Brexit where we are going to have problems on the borders and we are going to have difficulties with lorries piling up on the M20 and beyond.

“The cost [of Operation Stack in 2015] was something around £20m, which we could not recover from government.

“It was a substantial sum of money from government. It was an unfair tax on the people of Kent.”

However Mr Scott assured councillors that the National Audit office recommends keeping aside 5 percent of funds, while Kent Police has 12 percent in its bank.

Mr Scott added: “I believe there will be some deal in place following Brexit so we won’t see such big a problem but we don’t know until the deal is done.”