Matthew Scott launches Crimestoppers' summer campaign
Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott launched Crimestoppers in Kent's summer campaign at a conference at Leeds Castle on 18 July.
More than 50 delegates from the police, community safety organisations, tourism businesses and local authorities attended the Crimestoppers in Kent conference. The launch was part of the Crimestoppers charity's continued efforts to help make our communities safer by encouraging more people to speak up and report crime anonymously via Crimestoppers, and to highlight combined crime prevention efforts throughout the summer.
At the launch, Crimestoppers in Kent presented three initiatives - the Digital Most Wanted campaign, the Ambassadors Programme, and Crimestoppers’ Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking campaign.
Closing the conference, Mr Scott said:
'It is vitally important that Kent Police not only puts victims first but witnesses too. Crimestoppers supports them by providing a safe place for vulnerable people to go to provide information anonymously.
‘I’m very proud to be a supporter of Crimestoppers, and I’m pleased to see the money I’ve awarded is being used in a very innovative way to encourage more people to contact them. We know from past successes that displaying pictures of wanted people in public places leads to arrests, or suspects handing themselves in, and I look forward to seeing more digital screens in shopping centres and other prominent places across Kent.'
The Digital Most Wanted campaign
Eighty-five suspects who appeared on Crimestoppers’ Most Wanted website were arrested by Kent Police during the year from April 2016 to March 2017. Delegates at the conference heard that the campaign will be extended to regularly appear on screens in high footfall areas throughout Kent over the summer.
Kent Police is one of the most pro-active police forces in England with the highest number of 'live' appeals anywhere outside of London. Of the 85 arrests, 27 were for drug offences, 17 were for violent offences and nine for sexual offences.
The Ambassadors Programme
Crimestoppers in Kent has introduced an Ambassadors Programme to target their communications more directly to those best placed to provide crime information. The programme has established a network of organisations (Ambassadors) who are in day-to-day contact with or have information on those who have committed crime, those who are abused, vulnerable or are victims of crime.
Stuart Beaumont, Ambassadors Co-ordinator for Crimestoppers in Kent commented:
Crimestoppers' Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking campaign
'By Ambassadors spreading the word about Crimestoppers, we are able to reach more people and increase our support. Kent Ambassadors already signed up to the scheme include Youth Offending teams, Drug and Alcohol teams, the Fire and Rescue Service, Housing Associations and Neighbourhood Watch.
'The key targets of the Ambassador campaign are criminals, their associates, their families and friends plus those who are abused, vulnerable, victims of crime and others who have knowledge of criminals and crime.'
Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking is a key part of the Crimestoppers in Kent Summer Campaign. In 2016 over 3,805 potential victims of trafficking were identified in the UK. Barriers to reporting this type of crime are vast with those who are preyed upon often not perceiving themselves as being victims. There is also a fear of reprisals and repercussions and some victims have a distrust of the police.
Liam Duffy, Eastern Region Manager for Crimestoppers UK said:
'Crimestoppers in Kent, the Modern Slavery Helpline and Kent Police complement one another’s services. In the last financial year 16/17 Crimestoppers received a 40 per cent increase in crime reports from Kent with over 3,300 total pieces of information received with just four pieces of information on human trafficking.
'The 2017-18 campaign aims to improve this figure by increasing intelligence, raising awareness and using multiple languages. Crimestoppers seeks to achieve this through publicity at transport routes, ports of entry and population centres and raising awareness among the rural community.'
Mr Scott added:
‘I hope the Crimestoppers summer campaign is a great success and that, by working together, they can help Kent Police bring more offenders to justice and increase the intelligence picture around hidden crimes such as Modern Day Slavery.’