Published 25 March 2019

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The Police and Crime Commissioner has set aside £1million to invest in projects which aim to cut violent crime in Kent and Medway.

Matthew Scott’s new Violence Reduction Fund is just one of the recommendations to come out of his lengthy study into the nature, scale and causes of violence in the county. Local charities and other organisations will soon be able to bid for around £100,000 each, with the money to be spent over three years.

Mr Scott said:

‘When I launched my Violence Reduction Challenge last summer, I wanted to draw together the collective experience and expertise which exists across Kent to see what more could be done to protect people and reduce the prevalence of violent crime.

‘I’m looking to invest this money in things like engagement with schools, awareness campaigns, prevention initiatives, rehabilitation projects, and diversionary activities. Ultimately, I want to play my part in helping protect some of our most vulnerable people from the most violent.’

The Violence Reduction Challenge (VRC) has also recommended the commissioning of a new service specially to help victims of stalking; and the creation of a multi-agency task force in Medway to enable partners to work closer together to deal with some of the underlying causes of crime.

Mr Scott said:

‘The idea of a Medway Task Force was first floated at one of our community meetings last autumn and a group of us met in January to start agreeing how it would work. My office will be funding a coordinator role within Kent Police to bring all of the partners together.’

Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said:

‘I am pleased to announce the creation of the Medway Task Force which follows on from the success of the model in Margate.

‘We know that by working together with our partners under one roof we can be more effective, responsive and achieve positive results.
‘The Task Force will play an important role in tackling violence in the Medway towns. The officers will work closely with their partnership colleagues to support our ongoing efforts in confronting those who are prepared to use violence whilst also acting as a deterrent to those considering it. This will help us protect some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
‘The relationships that we have developed with key agencies allows us to put victims and local communities at the heart of what we do and enables us to deliver a first class service to the people of Kent and Medway.’

The VRC has also shaped the PCC’s decision-making in choosing to invest additional council tax receipts in 180 additional police officers this year, and to continue to support the work of the St Giles Trust. The charity has been working in Kent since 2017 to help young at risk of being exploited by county lines gangs to turn their lives around.
Mr Scott added:

‘I would like to thank all of the individual representatives of Kent Police, our partners, charities and others involved in the VRC who came together to share their views and experiences. Kent is already a safe place to live, work and visit – and Kent Police is doing fantastic work to make our communities even safer - but the force cannot do this work alone. Another of the VRC’s recommendations will call upon council-led Community Safety Partnerships to use more of the money I give them to prevent violence, for example.’