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Crime drops in Kent for the first time in 4 years

Kent is one of only four areas in England and Wales which has seen a fall in crime, new figures reveal.

The county saw a drop of 6,160 incidents of recorded crime compared to the year before, which is the second biggest crime drop in England and Wales.

Matthew Scott, Kent's crime commissioner says additional police officers are having a positive impact
Matthew Scott, Kent's crime commissioner says additional police officers are having a positive impact

The figures are released by the Office for National Statistics but do not include fraud offences and in total 191,439 crimes were recorded in Kent last year, which is a 3% decrease.

The last time crime fell in Kent was in 2014/15, when it also fell by 3%.

However, during the last four years, police in the county changed the way their crimes data is recorded, making current numbers more accurate.

Deaths or serious injuries due to unlawful driving have gone down by 13% from 60 in 2017/18 to 52 in 2018/19.

Incidents of violence leading to injury also reduced by 5% from 20,783 to 19,720 during the same period.

Knife related crimes have fallen by 3% in the last year but increased by 146% in the last decade
Knife related crimes have fallen by 3% in the last year but increased by 146% in the last decade

Meanwhile, stalking and harassment went down by the same percentage - dropping from 20,197 to 19,316.

Offences involving knives fell by 3% with 851 such crimes recorded in 2018/19 compared to 873 in 2017/18.

However, this is a small dent in the explosion in knife crime since 2010/11 when 346 offences were recorded compared to 851 in 2018/19.

Over the last decade, knife crime has increased by 146% in Kent, which is the fastest rate of increase in the country.

Though overall crime statistics are down, the number of some offences have increased in the past year.

Theft increased by 23% in 2018/19 with 58,437 offences recorded in 2018/19 and 58,032 in 2017/18 recorded the year before.

Police recruited 200 additional officers in Kent last year and plan to take on 147 more this year
Police recruited 200 additional officers in Kent last year and plan to take on 147 more this year

Robbery also increased by 12% 1,959 compared to 1,750 in 2017/18, which is the same percentage as it is across the country.

Matthew Scott, Kent's crime commissioner, says the fall in crime is down to the positive impact of the 200 additional officers recruited last year.

Mr Scott, said: "Crime data does not reflect the huge amount of work our police forces do where no crime has taken place - searching for missing people, attending serious collisions on our roads, prevention work in our schools, and dealing with people in mental health crisis, for example.

"Overall demand on our police officers and staff continues to grow and that is why ongoing investment is so important.

"The Home Office is funding a further 147 Kent Police officers in 2020/21 and, following yesterday’s funding settlement, I am currently looking at the force’s budgetary needs before I present my precept proposal to the Police and Crime Panel on February 6."

The figures come only weeks after Kent was ranked in the top 10 of the most crime-ridden regions in the country.

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