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Kent County Council knife crime committee to report in autumn

A new committee on knife crime set up by Kent County Council is expected to deliver its findings in the autumn.

Its new select committee on knife crime will be chaired by a Cllr Paul Barrington-King, an education lecturer.

The new committee will look into the root causes of the epidemic in the county to determine what further actions are needed to save lives.

Kent County Council has set up a knife crime committee
Kent County Council has set up a knife crime committee

Members of the select committee aim to finish the first half of their research before the summer, when councillors have a brief hiatus.

A full report is expected to be delivered in October.

It comes as the Office for National Statistics revealed Kent has seen the fastest rise in knife crime in the entire country.

The number of offences has soared by 152% since 2011 from 346 to 873, equating to 48 crimes per 100,000 people.

At the scrutiny committee yesterday, Cllr Barrington-King (Con) said: "I am incumbent with this extremely important role.

"I thank the chair and vice-chair for their proposals and the support of other members in appointing me for being chair of the select committee."

He added he will use his experience working with the emergency services on the Tunbridge Wells community safety partnership unit for his "grounding".

Cllr Barrington-King said: "I'm very proud of the work we did, we transformed Tunbridge Wells into the safest borough in Kent on a regular basis."

Cllr Dara Farrell (Lab), who has often criticised the council for their track record on funding services which he believes could reduce knife crime, is set to vice-chair the group.

He said: "Listening to the arguments of many members, who were against an amendment [for £500,000 to enable Safe Spaces at youth centres], I heartedly welcome this select committee as an opportunity of explaining to members some of the issues out there.

"I suspect I'm one of the few members who lives on a council estate, or is under 50 or works in the night time economy.

"Due to those circumstances I would be more than happy to serve on that committee."

While Cllr Barrington-King added he is from the "Alma Mater of hard knocks" as he grew up in a council estate in South East London.

He said: "I welcome the proposal for Dara to be my vice chair, I do share his grounding in being a council estate boy.

"My father died when I was one year's old and I was promptly transported off with my widowed mother into a two-bed council flat in south east London.

"I look forward to some productive conversations."

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