Published 22 January 2018

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Matthew Scott is giving local councils an additional £47,000 this year to support initiatives which make people safer in Kent.

Each year the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner grants money to the county’s Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs), on the condition that money is spent on projects which support the priorities in his Police and Crime Plan.

Last year this money helped support more than 100 schemes including a family mediation project in Maidstone, diversionary activities for young people in Gravesham, and a social inclusion project to help migrant women in Folkestone.

At a special event on 18 January, Mr Scott revealed he is increasing the amount he is giving to the 13 local areas by 10%. The total amount he is granting to CSPs in Kent and Medway is more than £550,000 in 2018/19.

Mr Scott said:

‘I believe this is a very bold step. I have protected CSPs' funding for the last two years but I’m pleased to say I’m increasing the amount of money I give them this year, to enable even more effective crime prevention work to take place in our county. Prevention is better than cure.’

The PCC’s Putting Victims First event at Kent Police College in Maidstone showcased some of the services he commissions to help victims of crime. It also provided an opportunity for attendees to discuss what could be done better.

During his speech Mr Scott reaffirmed his desire for the existing Victims’ Code to be enshrined in law – something the Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove, who was at the event, has been calling for.

Baroness Newlove said:

‘It was good to see so many people involved in supporting victims of crime in Kent attending this conference and participating. The commitment to put victims first is to be applauded and I welcome the determination of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Chief Constable and service providers to make this a reality.’

Mr Scott chaired a panel discussion which also featured David Naylor from Victim Support, Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley, Dr Patrick Tierney from Juvenile Justice International and Chief Crown Prosecutor Jaswant Narwal from the Crown Prosecution Service.

Dr Tierney said:

‘It was a great pleasure to attend the event and to meet Baroness Newlove who was passionate, sincere and inspirational, and it was a pleasure to see that she showed a great interest in the work done by organisations such as ours at the forefront of supporting some of the county’s most vulnerable victims, thanks to the funding provided by the PCC Matthew Scott.’

Miss Narwal said:

‘The Crown Prosecution Service in the South East values the essential work that the third sector and voluntary agencies do to support victims and witnesses, especially those who are vulnerable or intimidated. We would be unable to undertake successful prosecutions without this fundamental support being in place and are pleased that the Kent PCC supports these services through his commissioning work.’

Natasha Singh, clinical manager from counselling provider Rubicon Cares, said:

‘The event was a great opportunity to look at what we have all achieved in Kent. Equally, it was good to have the opportunity to discuss what areas need further work and improvement.’

Mr Scott also announced he will be conducting a review of all the mental health support services available for victims of crime in Kent, to seek to plug any gaps; and he will be looking at ways to provide enhanced support for hate crime victims.

Dan McDonald, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Medway which runs a project called Individuality, welcomed the move, saying:

‘Our job is to support victims and to raise awareness of hate crime as an issue. We have been grateful to the Commissioner for throwing his weight behind Individuality and for putting hate crime at the top of his agenda but we know that much more needs to be done to encourage victims to come forward and report crime so that justice can prevail.’