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Operation Stack priority for Kent's new police chief

Tuesday 10th May 2016

Kent's newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner has held urgent talks with the Home Secretary Theresa May about clawing back the crippling costs of Operation Stack.

Conservative PCC Matthew Scott – who replaced Ann Barnes as Kent’s police chief - met Mrs May while on the stump for the elections last week and was able to carry out some “groundwork".

Mrs Barnes had previously asked for nearly £600,000 from the government but was refused.

Operation Stack has been implemented for more than 20 years as a means of parking large volumes of freight on the M20 when the Port of Dover’s services are suspended, industrial action at Calais or the Channel Tunnel is closed.

It causes misery for local people trying to use the motorway and often spreads as far coast-bound as junction eight.

Stack was used 32 times last summer following strikes by French ferry workers, migrant activity and disruption to cross-Channel rail operations.

Mrs Barnes argued that Stack was unfairly burdening Kent for a problem with wider, national implications.

Mr Scott said: "I've already raised the issues of Operation Stack and the funding with the home secretary.

"One of the first things I did when I met her as a candidate [was] to discuss [this], so there is some groundwork that has been done..."

He said he would assess the cost of Stack, how money was being spent, and how it could be policed safely without Kent taxpayers being "overburdened".

The Home Office said: "The Home Secretary has agreed to work with the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner's office to discuss the costs of Operation Stack and what options there are going forward.

"Any further request for special grant funding from Kent will be considered on its individual merits, as with all other requests."

 

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