5. Priorities for the Chief Constable (2. To tackle Violence Against Women and Girls or VAWG)
Women and girls are at a disproportionate risk of a wide range of crimes, predominantly perpetrated by men. Kent Police must maintain the trust and confidence of women and girls by listening to those directly affected by violence and abuse, and working with partners to ensure no woman or girl feels unsafe.
a) Between October 2021 and March 2022, Kent Police held 15 district based public engagement events, with over 1,000 members of the public having the opportunity to see and hear how it was tackling VAWG. As a result, a new strategy to tackle VAWG was implemented with the force investing over 900 officers to work in areas specifically investigating offences related to VAWG, such as domestic abuse (DA) and rape. Kent Police also introduced a new officer identity verification check process enabling members of the public, if concerned about an officer’s identity, to request a check be made through the Force Control Room (FCR).
b) The force has established specific Rape Investigation (Phoenix) Teams. It has also invested in Sexual Offence Liaison Officers (SOLOs) to ensure victims receive the highest standards of care and providing a single point of contact for any victim entering into the Criminal Justice System (CJS). The SOLOs attend reports of rape, secure and oversee initial evidence capture, provide key support, and safeguard victims all the way through the investigative process, culminating in attending and remaining with them through the duration of court hearings.