4. a. Work with residents, communities and businesses to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour
The Force is dedicated to working with communities and local businesses to prevent crime and antisocial behaviour (ASB). Responding to the needs of local residents and communities, carrying out quality investigations, apprehending wanted persons and ensuring offenders are brought to justice are just a few of the measures of success. Engagement remains a fundamental part of neighbourhood policing. Ward officers, youth engagement officers and community liaison officers lead on the engagement functions of the Community Safety Units (CSU) on behalf of the districts; there is at least one community liaison officer in each district. All districts actively use social media to engage with the public and attend partnership meetings with the local authorities. In addition to face-to-face engagement and use oftraditional social media, Kent Police have launched a two-way engagement tool for residents, businesses and community groups in Kent and Medway called ‘My Community Voice’ (MCV) with over 9,000 members now signed up to the initiative. This enables Kent Police to update users with news, alerts, appeals, engagement events and general policing activities and allows the public to comment on these alerts and provide vital community intelligence within a private and importantly secure two-way interaction with Kent Police. MCV has many additional benefits such as allowing specific groups to be set up based upon geographical location or membership in fields like rural communities, retail, licensed premises or universities. It also has features which allow Kent Police to see who has important evidence gathering tools like doorbell and dashboard cameras. Other exciting features include a survey function, to find out what matters most to communities. Surveys can be conducted at street, ward, district level or areas identified by Kent Police in response to an incident or crime. Through this two-way engagement, Kent Police will be able to respond to the issues which matter most to communities. This will provide vital community intelligence and increased community collaboration increasing public confidence in Kent Police. To ensure high quality alerts are sent out to problem specific wards, Strategic Partnerships have delivered CPD training via Teams and updated the Sharepoint pages with the Terms of Reference and guidance document. Kent Neighbourhood Watch Association (NHWA) currently has around 5000 co-ordinators, and Kent Police are working alongside key members of NHWA to ensure that all NHWA members sign up to MCV to host the scheme in the same way the National Neighbourhood Watch scheme is hosted by the same platform. The Digital Asset Management System went live in October 2022 and will work alongside MCV in empowering Kent and Medway residents and businesses to have a police force that they can communicate with in a professional friendly, convenient and secure manner.
Victim Based Crime
3 Month total
Victim based crime (VBC) has experienced a slight decrease of 0.3%, with 132 less Crimes between August 22 and October 2022 compared to the same period last year. August and September have seen an increase with the month of October seeing a reduction on the same month last year. The VBC solved rate for the 2022 period was 8.7%, which is a slight increase from the 8.3% in 2021, with increases seen in the volumes of charges (+357) and youth cautions (+42) being administered.
Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB)
The Force is committed to tackling ASB and results in the past have demonstrated that the action taken was successful. Responding to the needs of local communities, carrying out quality investigations, apprehending wanted persons and ensuring offenders are brought to justice are just a few of the measures of success.
3 Month total
Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) has experienced an overall decrease of -5.9%, with 487 less incidents. There was a small increase in August 2022, higher levels are expected in the summer months with school holidays and the hotter weather. Decreases seen in September and October 2022 compared to last year. For the three-month period, the following ASB call types saw the largest reductions: • Rowdy or nuisance gathering in Public reduced by 8.3% (-230 incidents) compared to same period last year. • Neighbour Disputes/nuisance reduced by 17.3% (-233 incidents) compared to same period last year.
Working to Reduce Business Crime
The Force has invested time in building excellent relationships with local businesses and partners, establishing the foundations to work in partnership to reduce business crime in Kent. It ensures a close relationship with the business community through the Business Crime Advisory Group. Organised by the Crime Reduction Project manager this group meets quarterly to ensure a two-way flow of information between the Police and the attendees. The Federation of Small Businesses, the Cyber Resilience Centre, Retail and Business Crime Partnerships and Heritage Watch all attend to give a county picture of business crime. Strategic Partnerships attend the meeting to update on the latest policing issues, advise on best practice and to ensure they are aware of the most up to date fraud / scams in circulation. The Business Crime Day of Action was well supported on October 19th where every district was encouraged to utilise their Town Centre Constables and focus on Business Crime and persistent offenders. The BCA group was updated by the Retail and Business Crime Partnerships lead on how effective this was in Kent, highlighting specific good work in Gravesham where joint working with security staff led to the identification and apprehension of five offenders. This good work was well publicised on social media and the local press to promote the excellent partnership working arrangements. The Community Safety Unit SharePoint pages currently reflect the best practice from the National Business Crime Centre and will be updated to reflect contacts and learning from the Business Crime Advisory Group. The CSU Share Point page has also been updated to include ‘Current Crime Trends’ to recognise what crime is prevalent and what advice and action can be taken around tackling the problem.
Safer Summer plan campaigns took place during June to August and focussed on the following the following themes: • Violence - particularly Violence Against Women and Girls, Robbery and NightTime Economy • Road Safety • Anti-Social Behaviour during the school holidays
Districts such as Dartford and Thanet showed additional concentration to specific, area-based issues such as nuisance vehicles and beach crime respectively but whilst the plans incorporated such events as the Queens Jubilee and ASB Awareness Week, districts concentrated primarily on NTE patrolling events, making VAWG their main focus. 32 areas within Kent with high harm scores for violent crime are being supported by Grip funding so each safer summer plan reflected working in these key areas. Each location is supported by an OSARA (Objective, Scanning, Analysis, Response, Assessment) problem solving Plan. Each summer plan, map and OSARA plan has been listed on the Community Safety Unity Share Point page to enable officers and staff to access information relevant to their area and learn what they can do to assist in their execution. Safer Autumn plan campaigns took place in September – November and recognised the themes of Hate Crime, Violence, Mental Health, Burglary and ASB with a continuing focus on the GRIP hot spot areas with VAWG running as a theme throughout. Districts showed greater partnership working around developing VAWG walk and talk events throughout the county, particularly Medway and Canterbury who worked closely with the universities to protect and inform new students. CSUs have also been tasked with assessing licensed premises in preparation for the forthcoming football world cup to establish the appropriate assessments for use by officers which is being delivered alongside the county roll out of Best Bar None to provide safer socialising spaces across Kent and Medway.
Burglary Business and Community
3 Month total
Burglary Business and Community offences have experienced an increase of 12.8% with 57 more offences compared to the same period last year. Increases seen in August and September; these are against particularly low recorded months last year. There is a reduction in October 2022.
3 Month total
Burglary Residential offences have seen a 3.7% increase, with 45 more offences compared to the same period last year. August experienced the largest increase of the three month period and August is also the second highest month of the financial year; seasonally burglary residential offences tend to be higher in the summer months with more available opportunities where doors and windows are left open in the hotter weather.
3 Month total
With regards to the Home Office counting rules Violent Crime includes a broad range of offences across a spectrum from non-injury reports to the most serious violence, including homicide. The Force’s Control Strategy features quite heavily in this category, such as Sexual Offences, Domestic Abuse and Robbery. Violent crime has experienced a decrease of 5.7%, with 1307 less offences when compared to the same period last year. An increase was seen in August, however there were reductions for September and October with the most notable reduction in October (-1073 offences). Notably, there has been an increase in the charge rate from 5.5% in 2021 to 6.1% in 2022.
Violence Reduction Unit
Kent and Medway is one of 20 Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) formed in 2019 under the Home Office Serious Violence Projects programme to drive a whole system, preventative approach to tackling the causes of serious youth violence (public place violence involving young people up to the age of 25). The overarching aim of the VRU is to provide leadership and strategic coordination of all relevant agencies, to support a whole systems approach to tackling serious violence locally. It supports a multi-agency, long-term approach to preventing and tackling serious violence, which is not constrained by organisational or professional boundaries and is focused on generating long-term and short-term solutions. The performance indicators for VRUs set by the Home Office and the data to be used to evaluate the impact of VRUs are: • A reduction in hospital admissions for assaults with a knife or sharp object and especially among those victims aged under 25. • A reduction in all non-domestic homicides and especially among those victims aged under 25 involving knives. • A reduction in knife-enabled serious violence and especially among those victims aged under 25. The medium-term objectives are set locally and are focused on increasing agency collaboration to prevent serious youth violence. The VRU is governed by an Oversight Board which is chaired quarterly by the Commissioner or his deputy and includes representation from Kent Police, KCC, Medway Council, NHS England, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Public Health, Her Majesty’s Prisons, National Probation Service and the Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs). The focus for 2022/23 is weapon related harm, County Line risks and identifying and tackling Young Street Groups and the VRU collaborate with Kent Police to deliver the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy.
3 Month total
Robbery offences have experienced an increase of 15.7%, with 46 more Crimes compared to the same period last year, with increases in August (highest recorded month of the financial year) and September and a decrease in October (-16). Offences have been on a decreasing trend for the last three months. Notably, there has been an increase in the number of suspects arrested and interviewed.
Chief Constable’s Crime Squad
The Chief Constables Crime Squad (CCCS) continues to oversee serious acquisitive crime offences force wide with officers in North, West and East with a Detective Sergeant each supervising their respective Divisions. The Detective Chief Inspector and Detective Inspector continue to oversee this from a force wide perspective ensuring risk is minimised and force priorities are supported. All residential burglary and robbery offences are reviewed by the team daily and ownership taken of those which fall within the service level agreement of the Crime Squad. However, consideration is of course given to threat, harm and risk and the Crime Squad will either take ownership or assist Divisions with matters outside of this that pose the most threat and harm to the public and the Kent community. For example, providing tactical advice on matters where high risk offenders are outstanding to ensure their arrest is achieved in the timeliest way possible and evidence captured. The Crime Squad continue to use both proactive and reactive approaches to tackling burglary and robbery offences. Offences relating to the theft of high value vehicles, burglaries targeting jewellery and cash and robberies with weapons have all been and continue to be investigated by the team whether standalone offences or a series. There have been a number of highlights during the last quarter including a number of single offenders being identified and charged with series offences, whether that being residential burglary offences or robbery offences including those which have been perpetrated with a knife. The team has continued to focus on those offenders that are causing the most harm from a serious acquisitive crime perspective. This includes a group of offenders that were committing serious and serial acquisitive crime offences throughout the coastal towns in and around the Thanet region. The offenders were identified for series of offending over a three-week period. They were identified, arrested and charged with 35 offences including theft of motor vehicle, theft from motor vehicle and a number of Burglary offences. The individuals were recidivist burglary with their time on remand and upon sentencing ensuring they are not able to commit further offences. Officers from the crime squad have further dealt with singular serious offences, a strong example of this was the West Division Crime Squad team’s investigation into an Aggravated Burglary offence in Sevenoaks, where the offenders had entered the house by force, armed with firearms and weapons causing injuries to those inside and stealing money and items of property. The investigation was picked up by the team immediately and they commenced their investigation. Over the next three weeks they identified, conducted warrants and secured charges against 7 different individuals, who originated from different parts of London. The tenacity of the team was impressive particularly as they worked hard to secure charges often working very long extended hours. Robberies are a key component of the work of the Crime Squad with a focus on those with weapons which invariably have a lasting impact on the victims who have been targeted. The North Crime Squad secured charges against an individual who was committing knife enabled robberies within Dartford. Those noted are indicative of the matters investigated daily by the Crime Squad who continue to target the most prolific offenders and protect victims of crime.