Published 3 August 2018

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Senior representatives from policing, the fire service, the NHS and local councils have been discussing what can be done to cut violent crime in Kent.
Chaired by the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott, the meeting on 25 July brought key partners together to scrutinise data and agree where the PCC’s Violence Reduction Challenge should focus its efforts.
Mr Scott explained:

‘This meeting was the first of its kind, where key community safety leaders could sit together and speak openly about some of the issues we are facing. We agreed, for example, that we should look specifically at issues relating to the drugs trade because we know that is a key driver of high-level gang violence.’

 The Violence Reduction Challenge is Mr Scott’s local response to the Government’s own Serious Violence Strategy published earlier this year. The core aim is seeing what can be done here in Kent to reduce the harm caused by the most violent offenders to our most vulnerable victims.
Mr Scott continued:

‘Home Office data tells us violent crime in Kent is increasing but at the meeting we discussed the fact that the official definition of “violent crime” actually includes 55 different crimes, many of which the public may be surprised to learn do not involve physical injury to the victim. Violent crime includes instances of assault without injury, harassment, malicious communications and stalking, for example.
‘It was also noted that some types of offences still remain under-reported. We discussed whether hospital admissions data could be looked at alongside the official crime statistics because to tackle the causes of violent crime in our communities we first need a true picture of what is happening.’

Also present at the meeting were Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley, Sue Southern from the National Crime Agency, Ian Thomson from Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Glenn Douglas from the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, James Pavey from South East Coast Ambulance Service, and Shafick Peerbux and Cllr Adrian Gulvin from Kent County Council and Medway Council respectively.
In addition to this Core Steering Group, Mr Scott is arranging for larger meetings to be held in public across the county where charities, victims’ groups and other organisations will have the opportunity to share their ideas. The first of these will be held in Kings Hill on 17 August.
The Core Steering Group is due to meet again in mid-September. Its final report, to be published next year, will list recommendations around preventing violent crime, engagement and education, enforcement and rehabilitation.