Safer in Kent Plan
The Police and Crime Commissioner must produce a Police and Crime Plan that sets out his vision and priorities for policing and community safety, as well as the objectives and ambitions that Kent Police will be held to account on.
This is called Safer in Kent: The Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan.
Safer In Kent: The Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan
- Introduction and context
- Guiding principles
- Joint Vision
- Kent Police’s Priorities – 2017 to 2021
- The Strategic Policing Requirement
- What I will do
- Opportunities for the future
- Resources and Medium Term Finance Plan
- Commissioning allocations for 2020/21
As Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) I am required to publish a Police and Crime Plan which covers my term of office.
‘Safer in Kent: The Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan’ sets out the priorities that will drive the work of Kent Police, partners and my office until March 2021, and the overall strategic direction for policing and community safety in the county.
Informed by extensive consultation and taking into account national guidance such as the Policing Vision 2025, this plan will be continuously reviewed. Recommendations made by the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel and guidance issued by HM Government will be considered too. More importantly, it will be regularly updated in line with what local communities want.
Progress against this plan will be published in future Annual Reports which will be made public via my website and also submitted to the Police and Crime Panel.
However, progress will not be judged on stipulated numerical targets, but consider other feedback, including Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) reports and other independent publications.
The public rightly expects the highest standards of behaviour from everyone in public life, particularly those engaged in policing and criminal justice. Trust in policing is vital. From the Chief Constable, to the police officer on the street, all must play their part in instilling and upholding ethical standards. Their honesty, integrity, impartiality and openness must be beyond reproach.
PCCs, elected by residents, have a key role to play in this. PCCs hold the Chief Constable to account on all elements of policing, and I believe that strong ethics, transparency and integrity must be at the heart of this, both personally and professionally. For four consecutive years, HMICFRS have graded Kent Police ‘Outstanding’ for Legitimacy, and I will continue to ensure the College of Policing’s Code of Ethics forms the bedrock of standards and behaviour within Kent Police.
It is equally important that PCCs themselves operate with integrity and the highest standards of conduct and behaviour. I am clear on what my statutory duties are and the responsibilities I have been entrusted to undertake by the electorate of Kent. I will never interfere with operational decisions made by the Chief Constable, or any other police officer or professional staff, but will hold the force to account on behalf of the public for the delivery of the priorities set out in this plan.
To demonstrate my own commitment to ethics and integrity, I have also signed and published the Committee on Standards in Public Life ethical checklist and my personal Code of Conduct which reflects the Seven Principles of Public Life:
- Selflessness – I will act solely in terms of the public interest; not to gain financial or other material benefits for myself, my family, or my friends.
- Integrity – I will not place myself under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence me in the performance of my official duties.
- Objectivity – In carrying out my duties, including making appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, my choices will be based on merit.
- Accountability – I am accountable to the public for any decisions and actions I take and will submit myself to whatever scrutiny is appropriate for PCCs.
- Openness – I will be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that I take. I will give reasons for my decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
- Honesty – I will declare any private interests relating to my role as the PCC and take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
- Leadership – I will promote and support these principles through my leadership and by setting an example to those around me.
As I commit to making my decisions open and transparent, I will ensure that Kent Police does the same so that public confidence can be maintained.
Policing is unique and increasingly challenging, with officers and staff dealing with more complex issues, greater demand and higher public expectations. The workforce of Kent Police is its greatest strength and asset, but they need support to make the best possible decisions, and the right skills and knowledge to fight crime and address community concerns. As a result, I am committed to working with the Chief Constable to develop and support the workforce in terms of service delivery, but also their own wellbeing.
I am also uniquely placed to bring a diverse range of partners together and provide leadership to tackle all forms of inequality. As a White Ribbon Ambassador I will lead by example in taking a stand against sexism and all forms of gender-based violence, including against women and girls. I will also encourage equality and diversity and ensure unlawful discrimination is eliminated in order to make the policing family more diverse and a better representation of the communities it serves. In addition, I will hold the Chief Constable to account for equality and diversity, including delivery of the duties described in the Equality Act 2010.
For a Police and Crime Plan to be successful, not only should PCCs seek to hold the Chief Constable to account for the delivery of the priorities, but there has to be clear principles that guide the actions and decisions taken by both the Chief Constable and the PCC. This plan sets out both what residents want to see Kent Police focus on, but also what I will do to support communities and protect people from harm.
1. People suffering mental ill health need the right care from the right person
It is estimated that more than a third of Kent Police’s time is spent dealing with individuals and cases involving mental health illness. It is sadly the case that there has been an increasing reliance on Kent Police to assist those in mental health crisis. More people in crisis are coming to the police’s attention and being assisted by officers and staff, sometimes in place of healthcare professionals.
This clearly isn’t always best for a person in crisis. Nor is it fair on police officers, who are not healthcare professionals, to be relied on so heavily and so frequently.
Policing has always had an element of mental health crisis that it must deal with, and that will not change, particularly when there is a criminal allegation involved. However, it is not sustainable for forces to have to spend so much time dealing with this important issue, when there are other bodies that should be involved. The Policing and Crime Act 2017 banned the use of police stations for children detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983, and placed extreme limitations on police stations being used for adults; it is vital therefore that people suffering mental ill health get the right support from the right person at the right time.
The Chief Constable and I will continue to raise awareness of this issue and work with others in order to both reduce demand on policing, and ensure that vulnerable people are being helped in the right and appropriate way.
2. Crime is important, no matter where it takes place
Kent and Medway are fortunate to both have a mixture of urban, rural and coastal communities. As the PCC, I believe that crime should be considered important and investigated, no matter where it takes place. That includes offences committed in residential, business and online environments, or on our roads.
Victims come from all sections of society and the impact can be devastating. It is therefore important that Kent Police has the right resources in the right places to address both the threat from terrorism, and the demand from Kent’s local communities.
3. Vulnerable people must be protected from harm
Nationally, there is a greater emphasis on police forces protecting ‘vulnerable’ people and communities. It is a priority for the Home Office and something that Kent Police is inspected upon independently by HMICFRS. Kent Police has a fully embedded policing model built around vulnerability and the Control Strategy features many of the key themes – child sexual exploitation, abuse, gangs, county lines, modern slavery and human trafficking.
Kent Police, other key bodies and I need to continue to work together to raise awareness of these issues in order to protect both adults and young people from harm, support victims of crime and witnesses, tackle hate crime and ensure those perpetrating serious and heinous crimes are brought to justice.
The Chief Constable and I are committed to working together to secure the best possible outcomes for policing and community safety in Kent. This commitment is reflected in our joint vision for policing which focuses on partnership working, protecting the public from harm, neighbourhood policing and providing a first class service:
“Our vision is for Kent to be a safe place for people to live, work and visit. By protecting the public from harm, we will allow our communities to flourish and by working with the public and partners, we will provide a first class policing service that is both visible and accessible. We will retain neighbourhood policing as the bedrock of policing in Kent. We will be there when the public need us and we will act with integrity in all that we do.”
Being a victim of crime or witness can affect people in very different ways and have a significant impact on the person’s life, their family, and the local community. Their initial contact will often be with the police, but thereafter they may have to go to court, give evidence and await a verdict – whilst also dealing with the emotional aftereffects of what unfortunately can be a traumatic and understandably life-changing experience.
Victims of some crimes, such as modern slavery and stalking and harassment may also be reluctant to report what’s happened to the police because they are worried about their safety, getting into trouble or not being believed.
Victims and witnesses must be at the heart of everything the force does and be treated with fairness, respect and dignity so they have the confidence to come forward.
Crime and anti-social behaviour are issues that residents and local communities care deeply about and this is reflected through my on-going engagement and consultation.
Kent Police must ensure it has the right resources with the right skills to investigate, and where possible, bring to justice those who harm individuals and businesses by committing offences such as burglary, fraud, sexual abuse/exploitation and cybercrime. It must also continue to combat knife crime, targeting and tackling those who choose to carry a weapon.
In addition, Kent Police must work with the county’s Community Safety Partnerships, other statutory and non-statutory bodies, and local communities to understand, prevent and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour wherever it takes place, and address its sometimes complex causes. Urban, rural and coastal communities across Kent need to feel safe and secure.
Criminals are targeting the most vulnerable in Kent. Those involved in modern slavery, child sexual exploitation and human trafficking are not just using Kent as a gateway to and from the continent, but committing these crimes in our local communities. They are often involved with complex criminal networks which require substantial investment to investigate and disrupt.
There are also many individuals in relationships facing abusive behaviour and violence on a daily basis, but are too afraid to seek help. Domestic abuse may occur behind closed doors but the consequences are often devastating and long term, affecting victims’ physical health and mental wellbeing. It can also have a significant and long-lasting effect on children in the household, the wider family and the local community.
Tackling organised crime and gangs presents considerable challenges at a local, regional, national and global level. The impact on individuals and whole communities can be significant.
keep the county safe. There also needs to be a combination of effective local, regional, national and international coordinated activity, and seamless working between Kent Police and other partners and law enforcement agencies.
5. Provide visible neighbourhood policing and effective roads policing
other functions in order to increase efficiency and innovation.
addressing the needs of local communities.
- Weekly one-to-one briefings with the Chief Constable that focus on delivery of the priorities in this plan, including regular updates on topics such as recruitment, finance, estates, innovation, technology, criminal
justice and serious crime.
- A quarterly Performance and Delivery Board meeting with the Chief Constable, where the following force papers are required in advance and published by my office: Safer in Kent Plan – Delivery & Performance;
Inspections, Audits & Reviews; People; Finance; and Collaboration & Partnership Working. The meeting will be open to the public.
- A joint Audit Committee that looks at financial and risk management as well as internal controls.
- Attendance at the internal Kent Police Culture Board, which is chaired by the Chief Constable. The Board’s purpose is to continue the development of a culture which is consistent with the Chief Constable’s and my
shared Mission, Vision, Values and Priorities. Where there is a relentless focus on quality of service, putting victims and witnesses first and where officers and staff are confident to do the right thing.
- An established scheme of Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs), who check on the welfare of people in police custody by visiting police stations unannounced. I will continue to receive quarterly updates, and
the published Annual Report will outline the scheme’s objectives and plans for the future.
- Requesting bespoke briefings from the force on significant and/or sensitive issues.
- Engagement and Support Service (core referral service) – Currently awarded to Victim Support and delivering free and confidential support, advice, information, signposting and referrals for Kent residents who have been a victim of crime and have reported it to the police. Victim Support also provides self-referral opportunities for those that have experienced a crime but do not wish to report it to the police. This service works in collaboration with specialist services to ensure victims receive the most appropriate support for their needs.
- Compass House – This is the hub for victim and witness support services in Kent. Victim Support, Kent Police’s Witness Care Unit, Citizens Advice’s Witness Service and the Restorative Justice Service are co-located within the building on a permanent basis. In addition, other services also co-locate based on need to meet with victims or work collaboratively with the permanently-based agencies to deliver improved services to victims. Compass House provides some facilities for victims and witnesses including counselling rooms and a vulnerable victim’s suite, but they are not required to visit in order to access support, as this is delivered within Kent’s communities. Victim Support also operate community based Compass Points where victims can discuss their needs face-to-face; the Witness Service and Restorative Justice Service also provide community based support.
- Specialist Victims’ Services – In addition to the core referral service, it is important to ensure victims have access to more specialist support services where they have more complex and specialist needs. These services might include support for domestic abuse victims, underrepresented groups, sexual assault victims or trauma counselling. These services work alongside the core referral service to ensure victims have access to the support they need to help them cope and recover from their experience. My office will continue to identify opportunities to develop and enhance these services, which may include making funding available such as through the Victim Specialist Services Fund.
- Restorative Justice – Recognising that the recovery process is unique, I have commissioned a Restorative Justice Service that supports the delivery of victim-led restorative justice opportunities to support their recovery and reduce re-offending. This service is available any time during the victim’s recovery process and I am committed to ensuring that we work in collaboration to ensure effective use of restorative justice in Kent.
- Independent Sexual Violence Advisers and Sexual Assault Support Services – I will seek to provide greater sustainability for Independent Sexual Violence Advisers in Kent, ensuring that effective support is available to victims of rape and sexual assault. This will include fully understanding the needs of victims to ensure the service reflects demand. I will also work closely with NHS England, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and other partners to ensure the right services are available at the right time.
- Domestic Abuse – I will continue to work in collaboration with partners to ensure victims of domestic abuse, whether male or female, including the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) community, are able to access appropriate support services, and that prevention and early intervention opportunities are identified. This includes working with both Kent County Council and Medway Council on delivering effective commissioned services for domestic abuse victims. I will also provide any extra resources that are needed to guarantee future provision of domestic homicide reviews and raise awareness of domestic abuse services for men.
- Child Sexual Assault – Part of the funding I receive from HM Government is to specifically support victims of child sexual assault. I will continue to work with partners and providers to identify the best opportunities for supporting children who have suffered sexual assault, including adults who now feel able to access services to help them deal with non-recent abuse.
To ensure the best possible service for victims of crime in the county, it is important I understand their needs and views on the services being delivered. I will continue to engage with victims through a range of forums, including the Victims Panel.
Importantly, I am committed to continually enhancing victim services in Kent to ensure the best possible support is provided. This includes identifying opportunities to improve the reach and scope of services to ensure victims receive support that is responsive to their needs. I will also explore greater utilisation of technology and research to enhance services, ranging from developing more effective methods for contacting victims to providing greater access to support through facilities such as Live Chat.
health professionals, provision of safe places or alternative places of safety, and importantly helping those with mental health issues who come into contact with the police access the right and appropriate support. I also want to work with those who help keep vulnerable people, with conditions such as dementia, safe from harm and exploitation.
Importantly, the funding will not be used to support mental health services which are the responsibility of the NHS, or to support those services where statutory funding has been withdrawn or reduced.
Police forces are not responsible for funding CCTV schemes, and Kent Police does not fund any at present. Unfortunately, due to financial pressures, this policy will not change.
The VRC’s primary objective was to determine what could be done to prevent and tackle violent crime within urban, rural and coastal communities across
charities and community groups to address violent crime.
- Creating a Violence Reduction Fund to support relevant community schemes;
- Requiring Community Safety Partnerships to use more of their funding to prevent and tackle violent crime;
- Developing a bespoke stalking and harassment service in conjunction with the charity Victim Support; and
- Setting up a multi-agency task force in Medway to tackle the
underlying causes of violent crime.
police, local government, health and education professionals, community leaders, and other key partners to tackle serious violence and its causes. Its aim is to support a multi-agency, public health, long term approach to preventing and tackling serious violence across Kent and Medway with a special
focus on knife crime involving those under 25. My office chairs the VRU
Oversight Board, attended by all partners, to ensure effective delivery of the VRU.
There are also other mechanisms to ensure that offenders repay communities. For example, I will use money raised through forfeiture under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to support the fight against drug trafficking and misuse of illegal substances that devastates lives and harms communities. When people are fined, or their cars seized after breaking the law on our county’s roads, depending on the offence some of this money is retained by Kent Police. I will use money from those found to have been driving without insurance to support community
They include the following:
- A more accessible website;
- ‘Street stalls’ in high-footfall locations;
- Regular public consultations;
- Talking to pupils at the county’s schools;
- Traditional and social media channels;
- Visits to various community organisations and representative groups;
- Direct engagement with partners and other elected officials;
- Newsletters and proactive e-news alerts.
1. Calling for more criminal justice powers for Police and Crime Commissioners
Criminal justice is delivered by a number of organisations including the police, CPS, courts, probation and prisons. Through the Kent Criminal Justice Board which I chair, I will hold these organisations to account and seek to strengthen partnership working to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
There is more that can be done though, and I believe further devolvement of criminal justice powers to PCCs has the potential to improve the journey for all service users. Whilst the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) considers this, I will explore opportunities to ensure that victims and witnesses in Kent receive the best possible services to support them in coping and recovering from the crime they have experienced.
PCCs can also play a pivotal role in developing and improving partnership working. I want to ensure those organisations involved in Kent – not just the police – play their part and will continue to engage with Ministers in calling for further criminal justice powers to be devolved to PCCs.
2. Lobbying for a fairer funding settlement for Kent
As the PCC, part of my role is to ensure the Chief Constable has the resources he needs to deliver effective policing across the county.
As the ‘Gateway to Europe’, Kent Police faces some very unique policing challenges with ferry ports, the Channel Tunnel and miles of coastline within our county. Kent’s officers and staff are on the frontline in protecting the country from terrorism and international criminality, including human trafficking and drugs smuggling.
The UK has now withdrawn from the European Union (as of 31 January 2020) and Kent Police continues to work closely with the Home Office and partners to minimise any impact on the county. Preparations over the last year have been challenging; I have engaged with HM Government on behalf of the police service and secured additional funding for Kent Police so local taxpayers have not had to pick up the bill.
However, change brings uncertainty and I will continue to engage with HM Government on policing issues nationally, as well as seek additional funding for any further unavoidable and unexpected costs incurred by Kent Police in the future.
World events have led to increased international migration and the plight of those trying to enter the country illegally is a reality in Kent, as are protests over immigration. There are also significant challenges in relation to the number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children being looked after in the county, many of whom are in the care of local authorities, but at risk of being exploited by gangs and unscrupulous criminals.
Kent Police has the UK’s longest Strategic Road Network and some of the busiest, with significant levels of traffic flowing through the ports and a corresponding high level of freight and HGVs. This takes up substantial police resources and at times of major disruption at the ports, requires the implementation of contingency plans, such as Operation Stack. Ramsgate is also the only port in the country that has live animal exports, which in turn can attract protests which require policing.
The county’s proximity to London also presents opportunities for gangs and organised crime groups to cross borders and operate in our county. I will continue to lobby HM Government to get a good deal on police funding for Kent, so these unique challenges, and many more, are properly recognised.
- £223.4m (58%) grant funding, both general and specific, from HM Government
- £131.3m (34%) from the council tax
- £29.2m (8%) from miscellaneous income
- £0.8m support from reserves
Medium term financial challenges
The settlement also outlined the Policing Minister’s expectations in return for the additional investment in policing. These are:
- Forces to recruit an additional 6,000 officers by the end of March 2021 (Kent Police is expecting to receive 147 of these).
- A further planned £30m savings from procurement in 2020/21. Blue Light Commercial is the new national body to deliver these savings in the sector, with ‘go live’ scheduled for 1 June 2020. It is hoped that this new company can make a further £20m of savings per year once fully established and also further potential savings in back office functions in the future.
- Continued improvements in digital, data and technology solutions to maximise the benefits of mobile working.
- Continue to pursue best value from the investment in police technology. The Home Office will work with the sector to draw up a detailed plan which will be overseen by the ministerially-chaired, Strategic Change and Investment Board.
I am confident that this budget and the medium term plan demonstrate Kent’s commitment to these expectations.
I have made no assumptions on increases over and above 1.99% in future years.
In total the combined commissioning and victim services budget is £4.2m for 2020/21. This includes £2,158,429 from the MoJ for the specific purpose of delivering support services for victims of crime, regardless of whether the crime has been reported to the police. As 2020/21 is an election year, I have chosen not to allocate all of the funding available. This will allow any incoming PCC to allocate it in accordance with their priorities. However, I have continued funding services for 6 months so that victims and witnesses in Kent continue to receive the support they require. Details of these will be made available on my website.
My Commissioning Strategy sets out the detail of this budget and how responsibilities will be managed during the financial year. I also intend to take the opportunity to consolidate the impact of the funding I provide and use this to help inform commissioning decisions for the future.
|Crime Reduction Grant||£1,591,756|
|Victim Specialist Services||£472,090|
|Preventative and Engagement Projects||£98,995|
subject to further amendment. Finalised allocations will be published online.