10. Priorities for the Chief Constable (7. To protect young people and provide opportunities)
Protect young people and provide opportunities
Every interaction with a child or young person leaves a mark; it is an opportunity to build trust and to keep them safe. Kent Police must continue to provide positive engagement opportunities and whenever an officer or member of staff comes into contact with a child or young person, they must look beyond the immediate situation by asking questions and observing their behaviour and environment.
a) Child centred policing is at the heart of the Force Control Strategy and in October 2021, Kent Police launched its Child Centred Policing Plan setting out the strategy to continue the journey of embedding a child centred policing culture, enabling staff and officers to effectively talk to children, safeguard them and identify vulnerabilities. Version 2 of the Plan launched in January 2023 with an updated focus on early help, prevention and identifying and managing hidden harm. The vision of child centred policing is to support trauma informed working across a range of professional settings and services to provide a consistent approach to trauma informed practice.
b) The Cadet Programme seeks to create opportunities for young people to be involved in the policing family whilst strengthening safeguarding processes. Regardless of background or circumstances the force welcomes all young people and seeks to provide them with opportunities to thrive. As at 31 March 2023, there were 408 cadets located at 12 units across the county and in 2023, they completed over 15,000 hours of volunteering. In October, the first ever Kent Police Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet was appointed.
Example: During summer 2022, cadets took part in various activities including a Football Tournament, two days at Bewl Water and a trip to the Ninja Warriors park. They also assisted with the training of probationary officers by taking part in role plays and assisted with summer fetes, Paws in the Park and Leaflet drops. Cadets also assisted with the PCC’s Blue Light Job fair.