Published: 00:01, 18 February 2016
A report into the way Kent Police handle crime has graded it as generally good.
The Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) report, out today, delivered an overall rating of 'good' to the county's force.
The report revealed that, when a crime occurs, the force acts quickly and carries out high quality investigations.
But, while ranking 'good' in most areas, it was said to need improvement in helping vulnerable people, and in supporting victims.
It said the force's initial response to support vulnerable victims of domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour, as well as missing children, is good.
But frontline officers' and police staff's knowledge of child sexual exploitation is limited. This needs to improve, it said.
Kent had the lowest charge rate in England and Wales for domestic abuse.
The report, though, recognised how Kent had invested more resources in tackling domestic abuse, missing persons and child sexual exploitation, and was working to improve its services.
However, the force needed to improve its service to children at risk from sexual exploitation.
Knowledge of how to identify the risk factors associated with child sexual exploitation among frontline officers and police staff was limited.
It comes after Kent Police was the only force out of 43 in the country ranked as "outstanding".
Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes said: "Off the back of the last inspection, I’m again very pleased indeed that HMIC has judged Kent Police to be good at reducing crime and keeping people safe.
"This is especially comforting in our very large and very diverse county.
"Again, I must commend the Chief Constable, his officers and staff – and the many volunteers who support them – for all of the hard work that led to this hat-trick of great results."
Zoe Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector for the Eastern Region, said: "I am very pleased that the force priorities reflect its clear commitments to supporting victims, working with partners, keeping people safe from crime and anti-social behaviour and ensuring visible, community policing is at the heart of Kent Police."
A spokesman for the NSPCC said: “We are encouraged that Kent Police has invested more resources in tackling child sexual exploitation.
"However the report recognises that more work is needed to improve its services and knowledge among frontline officers and police staff to identify the risk factors associated with child sexual exploitation.
“Kent Police’s paedophile online investigation team (POLIT) was highlighted for carrying out effective investigations, meaning offenders will find Kent a more difficult place in which to operate.
“As more victims of child abuse and exploitation continue to come forward, it’s essential that all police forces are properly trained and equipped to respond to these most horrific of crimes.”