Published 4 June 2020

Watch the PCC and Chief Constable's discussion at the PCC's Performance and Delivery Board

The Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott has sought assurance from Kent Police’s Chief Constable that the force is ready to help those victims of domestic abuse who are seeking support as lockdown eases.

Mr Scott, who held his quarterly Performance and Delivery Board meeting virtually in order to adhere to social distancing, said:

‘There have been concerns about whether we have known the true level of domestic abuse during the lockdown period. We may see further demand now that people are allowed to visit more people and they try to access services.’

He asked Chief Constable Alan Pughsley:

‘Do you have the resources you need to cope with that further demand?’

Chief Constable Pughsley responded:

‘Already in the last week we have started to see a change. Domestic abuse as a proportion of our calls for service has gone from 6% or 11% a couple of weeks ago to about 30% or 40% - a big increase - as more people have more flexibility to come out of their households.

‘But we have the right resources available to deal with that because demand is being dealt with in a really efficient and effective way. Live chat is the best example I can give of that. Making contact with other victims that way, in line with their needs and wishes, means officers have more time to get out to and deal with domestic abuse incidents that we absolutely need to get to.’

Other than domestic abuse, the only other area Kent Police has experienced a large increase in has been in reports of anti-social behaviour. Chief Constable Pughsley said the vast majority of these had been linked to alleged breaches of the Government’s stay at home instructions.

Summarising Kent Police’s ability to cope during the Covid-19 pandemic, Chief Constable Pughsley told Mr Scott:

‘I’m incredibly proud of my officers and staff. All areas of criticality are operating at 100% capacity. Delivery has been very good, agile, flexible - and focussed on your Police and Crime Plan. The force has stood up to the test in a magnificent way.’

Mr Scott took the opportunity to again thank the police and partners for their efforts, saying:

‘Well done to Kent Police officers, staff and volunteers for the incredible job they’ve done keeping things moving along and in stepping up to the additional challenges of Covid-19. And, an extra special thanks to all the volunteers as this is of course Volunteers’ Week – those Special Constables, Community Policing Volunteers, police staff volunteers, South East 4x4 Response, Kent Search And Rescue, and all sorts of different organisations who support us every single year. They have been doing some fantastic work during this period.’

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