Last week Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, came to Deal to meet with me and Deal Councillor, Peter Jull, to discuss the priorities for Kent Police in our area and his role as Commissioner.
In Kent the numbers of police are rising. In June 2020, the Kent Force reached 3,800 Officers strong, that’s more than in March 2010. There are plans for another 300 more. That has translated into more local police in our area– with additions to the town teams in both Dover and in Deal to tackle antisocial behaviour and more besides.
Earlier this year I met with Chief Inspector Elena Hall who heads our local Dover police, and her area commander for East Kent, Chief Superintendent Nigel Brookes. I have regular communication with DI Hall so that I can raise issues directly with her and get action taken. Such as where people are observing drugs activity, following up on individual crime reports for residents, as well as specific village concerns such as those in Nonington where noisy off-road motorbikes have been causing considerable upset.
As the pandemic hit in March, Matthew Scott arranged regular calls with him and the Kent Chief Constable, Alan Pughsley. These regular sessions were invaluable for me to raise promptly matters in my inbox. From areas being zealously policed to not-enough policing. ‘Over-policing’ complaints tended to be around our beautiful beaches, where Kent Police were trying to balance potentially raucous and non-compliant day trippers with local families enjoying the good weather. Similarly, not-enough policing complaints tended to be in coastal and rural villages. It is not always easy for the police to get the balance right, and they welcomed this regular dialogue. I have also made sure to feed back many positive experiences and comments that have been made to me about our local police team as well.
Recent policing results across Kent have been impressive -in particular violent crime, like burglary and knife crime, has fallen. However, work continues apace on tackling the ‘county lines’ drugs gangs who target counties adjacent to London. In our local area, there are also drugs, illicit smuggling and people-trafficking from across the Channel. Kent Police work closely with the National Crime Agency and I receive updates on their work in this important area, one which requires constant vigilance and national resources to address.
Kent Police is the only Force in the country with 3 “Outstanding” ratings for its performance from independent inspectors. While there is always a place for more and better, our policing across the county is recognised as one of the best in the country. I am much encouraged by the focus on numbers, resourcing and priorities for our Kent Police, and look forward to this promising performance becoming even stronger over the years to come.