Published 18 June 2018

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The Police and Crime Commissioner is asking the people of Kent to tell him their real-life experiences of violent crime.
The month-long call for evidence forms a key part of Matthew Scott’s Violence Reduction Challenge, a year-long study in which the PCC is working with victims, residents, charities, statutory bodies and others to learn about people’s experiences of violent crime in the county, its causes and how it can be tackled.
Launching the call for evidence today, Mr Scott said:

‘I am bringing together a wide group of people and organisations from different sectors so we can put together a collective response to the issues that we face. But first, I want to hear from victims and residents so we know exactly what those issues are.
‘While crime has fallen since 2010, there are statistical trends which tell us that numbers of some violent crimes have risen in recent years, though many of those additional ‘violent crimes’ relate to incidents in which no-one was physically injured. This national definition of what constitutes a ‘violent crime’ can be confusing at times.
‘In any case, it is wrong to only look at statistics. Behind every crime there is a real victim with their own unique experience and story to tell. I want to hear from as many of them as possible so the Violence Reduction Challenge can look properly at all 55 types of ‘violent crime’ so we can consider what practical steps we can take as a county to tackle them.’

The PCC is asking for:
•       Any data which shows the scale of violent crime(s) in Kent;
•       Victims’ real-life experiences of how the police and criminal justice system deals with violent crime;
•       Any policy ideas, or examples of best practice being used elsewhere, to help tackle violent crime;
•       Any ideas which could protect people - particularly emergency services personnel - in their work;
•       People’s views on the Government’s national Serious Violence Strategy.
To submit evidence, please visit by the deadline of Wednesday, July 18. After that, the responses will be reviewed and discussed by senior community safety officials.
Among those sitting on this core steering group will be Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley, who said:

‘The Police and Crime Commissioner’s Violence Reduction Challenge is a genuine attempt to examine the causes of violent crime based on information provided by those most closely affected by it.

‘Reducing violent crime remains one of our top priorities and this initiative will be looking at potential solutions.  I am therefore very pleased to support the challenge and would encourage anyone in a position to share their experience and ideas to get involved.’

Another of the steering group, Cllr Adrian Gulvin, a Medway Council portfolio holder and Chair of the Medway Community Safety Partnership, said:

‘I fully support this piece of work being carried out by the Police and Crime Commissioner; it is important we listen to victims and any residents who might be affected by violence so we can learn from them and work together to take action.
‘We will continue to do all we can to provide advice and guidance to our communities, as well as support our partners in the police.’

In addition to the core steering group, larger advisory panel meetings will be held in public across the county. A final report, with recommendations, will be published next year.
Mr Scott added:

‘Whilst the review is taking place, we will not be waiting for its recommendations before acting. Kent Police is tackling violent crime on a daily basis; we are recruiting up to 200 more Police Officers this year; and I’ve given money to local councils and charities to fund community-based initiatives which help prevent violent crime.’