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Kent Police rated 'outstanding' for fourth year running

By John Nurden

Kent Police has become the only force in England and Wales to be rated 'outstanding' for efficiently using resources, legitimately serving the public and the way it records crime.

It is the fourth year on the trot independent inspectors have graded the Force as 'outstanding’ for the way it treats the public and how it uses its resources.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services also paid tribute to Kent Police’s effectiveness, stating the force is good at pursuing and managing offenders who pose a risk to the public and that its good investigations lead to satisfactory results for victims.

Kent Police stock image of constable on the beat (9523473)
Kent Police stock image of constable on the beat (9523473)

The assessment formed part of the 'PEEL' review into police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy.

Reviews of 14 of the 43 forces were published today.

In January this year, Kent Police was graded 'outstanding’ for its crime data integrity - how it records crimes reported to the Force.

Kent Police stock image of car patrol (9523477)
Kent Police stock image of car patrol (9523477)

Kent Police is the only UK force to have received an ‘outstanding’ grading for legitimacy for four years in a row.

In the five domains independently inspected, Kent Police is graded 'outstanding' in four, and 'good' in one.

Inspectors highlighted its use of technology such as 'bodycam' video worn by officers and the force’s work with academics to understand trends in demand.

Chief Constable of Kent Alan Pughsley (9523469)
Chief Constable of Kent Alan Pughsley (9523469)

It said it was turning into a "digital first" organisation.

Kent's Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: "I am extremely pleased that Kent Police has been graded outstanding in the way that we treat people, plan for the future and work together with our partner agencies to protect the public.

"Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services also recognised that we do a good job when it comes to preventing and investigating crime and protecting vulnerable people.

Kent police car and slow sign. Stock photo (9529985)
Kent police car and slow sign. Stock photo (9529985)

"This report is testament to the fantastic job my staff do for the people of Kent day in, day out."

But he added: "As positive as this report is about our work, we remain determined to continue to improve what we do and how we do it.

"We will work together to achieve this and continue to provide a first class policing service to the people of Kent."

Kent police van. Stock photo (9529983)
Kent police van. Stock photo (9529983)

The report said Kent Police makes good use of community policing teams to find and arrest criminals, is good at identifying vulnerable people and that officers attend incidents involving vulnerable people quickly enough to keep them safe.

It said the Force manages the risk of registered sex offenders effectively, minimising the risk to the public.

The Force was judged to have an "excellent record" of robust and successful financial management, communicating exceptionally well with the public, and officers and staff were found to have an excellent understanding of ethical policing due to Force leaders’ promotion of training, advice, culture boards and the ethics committee.

In the year 2017-18 Kent Police received 317,599 emergency 999 calls, up 1.2% on the previous year, and 548,274 non-emergency 101 calls, down 5.9% on the previous period.

Kent police forensics van. Stock photo (9529946)
Kent police forensics van. Stock photo (9529946)

Who is Kent's Top Cop?

Alan Pughsley joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1984 where he carried out a variety of roles, mainly as a detective.

He has expertise in murder investigations, armed robbery, firearms and drug related crimes.

In 2005 he ran the Kidnap and Specialist Investigation Unit and led the Special Project’s Team tackling ‘contract killings’ and serious and organised crime.

In 2007 Mr Pughsley went to Lewisham, South London as Borough Commander.

He was responsible for all policing activity in the borough, including crime detection and reduction, citizen focus, neighbourhood policing and partnership working.

Mr Pughsley has also spent time with Surrey Police as a Detective Superintendent in the Partnership and Criminal Justice Unit, responsible for establishing strategic alliances and working partnerships with key stakeholders.

Mr Pughsley joined Kent Police on May 18, 2009 as Assistant Chief Constable for Specialist Operations before heading up a new joint Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, one of the largest in the country.

In March 2011 he was appointed Deputy Chief Constable where he led on the design and implementation of a new policing model, was responsible for quality performance delivery as well as ensuring the force was run in an efficient and effective way.

In December 2013 Mr Pughsley was appointed Chief Constable of Kent Police, taking up the role in January 2014.

In June 2015 Mr Pughsley received the Queen’s Police Medal in Her Majesty’s Birthday Honours list for distinguished service.

Kent Police badge (9523471)
Kent Police badge (9523471)

National view

Matt Parr, the HM Inspector of Constabularly, said: "Overall, we found the forces we inspected are performing well.

"Most are keeping people safe and reducing crime, using their resources efficiently, and treating their workforces and the communities they serve fairly and with respect.

"But despite this relatively positive picture of performance, our findings indicate that some forces are straining under significant pressure as they try to meet growing complex and high-risk demand with dwindling resources.

"This pressure has grown since our inspections last year and is affecting different forces in different ways.

"We have seen the effects from neighbourhood policing and investigations through to counter-corruption and workforce health and wellbeing.

"Given the current operational and financial context forces find themselves in, it isn’t clear for how long they will be able to maintain their current performance levels.

"For many of the forces we inspected in this group, cracks are beginning to appear in the system."

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