Published 6 March 2019

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The Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, Matthew Scott, has reiterated his belief that the police and partners need to work together to tackle violent crime.

Mr Scott said:

‘Today the Home Secretary has summoned Chief Constables to London for another meeting about the response to violent crime. But it is absolutely vital that we all work together - Police Chiefs, PCCs, the Home Office, the criminal justice system and other agencies - to join up efforts more effectively to tackle the root causes and take action against the perpetrators.’

In Kent, Mr Scott brought the police and other partners together last year under his Violence Reduction Challenge to look at violent crime and what should be done about it across Kent and Medway. Recommendations will be published soon, including on better prevention and early intervention.

He added:

‘Kent is a safe place to live, work and visit, but that does not mean that we are without our challenges. Our proximity to London, and the criminal activity being exported from the capital through organised crime and county lines, has a footprint here that Kent Police is tackling.

‘If there is analysis which shows whether there is or isn’t a link between officer numbers and violent crime then it should be published. But, personally, I never backed budget reductions. Our ongoing recruitment drive in Kent means that by March 2020 we will be back to 96% of the strength we had when police officer numbers started falling in 2009.’

He also pointed to some of the work already going on, funded by his office, to divert young people away from county lines activity:

  • The St Giles Trust is giving talks in schools in the east of the county, and its caseworkers continue to work with young people to extract them from a life of criminality and gang activity;
  • Community projects like The Shed in Folkestone and Hang 10 in Ramsgate offer safe spaces for young people to gather and speak to youth workers;
  • Youth Resilience provides training sessions around knife crime reduction to young people in Thanet;
  • Refocus, in the north of the county, is working with young people to help them get their lives on track and away from crime;
  • Reform, Restore, Respect visits in schools in the west of the county to highlight the risks attached to gangs and violence, and the consequences for their lives;
  • Tables Turned has made a film encouraging young people away from anti-social behaviour, gang violence and knife crime;
  • And the countywide Kent Police Volunteer Police Cadets initiative helps prevent young people from becoming involved in criminality, and gives them the opportunity to build confidence and self-esteem.

Mr Scott added:

‘There is still some more work to do but I am reassured, having spoken to Kent Police this week, that the force’s approach to knife crime remains effective given the challenges we face, and that Kent Police continues to bear down on the most violent.’