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Kent Police Chief Constable reveals latest crime statistics - with worrying in rises in thefts, robbery and vehicle offences

Crime in Kent fell in the past year but worrying statistics have emerged about robbery, vehicle offences and thefts.

A statement of accounts released by the Chief Constable of Kent Tim Smith shows that overall there were 3.5% fewer recorded crimes in the last 12 months.

Latest crime statistics gave been released
Latest crime statistics gave been released

The statement said: “All recorded crime has experienced a decrease of 3.5%, with 6,351 less offences over the last 12 months, when comparing against the last 12 months, with the exception of robbery (5.8%), vehicle crime (7.2%) and theft offences (14.4%), all other crime types have seen decreases.

“The force has arrested/interviewed 39,492 suspects, charged 13,608 offenders, and achieved 18,584 solved outcomes.”

Domestic violence and hate crimes are tumbling, according to the Kent Police statistics, as are sexual offences and stalking/harassment cases.

The Chief Constable reported that the force’s crime recording has improved despite changes to the criteria of doing so. Kent now records 96.7% of offences.

Police stock image
Police stock image

Overall crime/incident recording from all methods of public contact has increased by 15.9% (129,106), according to the report.

The so-called ‘County Lines’ drug-running operations saw an increase of one from 36 to 37 between May 2022 and May 2023.

The report defines a “County Line” as: “A County Line must have the following four elements: the movement of drugs - the practice of trafficking drugs into rural and smaller towns away from major cities, communication - the mobile technology used to run the line, violence and vulnerability, which includes exploitation of individuals.”

Further reductions in crime are seen in the following areas: sexual offences (4.4%); stalking and harassment (18.2%); residential burglary (1.3%) and public order (18%).

Mr Smith cited the Kent Police Pledge to: “Provide a high-quality policing service, delivered with absolute integrity; support and protect victims; catch criminals and solve crime.”

In his introduction, the Chief Constable writes: “Policing has been under intense scrutiny during 2023/24 and rightly so.

“As a public service, we must be held accountable for our delivery and actions, to ensure Kent communities can have the trust and confidence in us to do the job.

“This is a clear area of focus for us, and one I am wholly committed to as outlined in the Kent Police Pledge. One such area where we must demonstrate we are operating in a way that is value for money is through our financial management.”

He said the headcount of officers of 4,225 which are within the government uplift requirements and the highest in the force’s history.

Cllr Dave Naghi has been supportive of Kent Police but says the force needs more officers
Cllr Dave Naghi has been supportive of Kent Police but says the force needs more officers

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman David Naghi said that despite the recruitment of police officers, there are still insufficient to tackle the level of crimes being committed.

He said: “Everyone knows there are major problems with crime in Kent and especially on my patch in Maidstone and Malling. I am totally supportive of the police but there just is not enough of them.

“It creates a perception where shoplifting and petty crimes do not get punished. We are in danger of having anarchy on the streets.”

Conservative county councillor Sean Holden said he has been trying to get official burglary figures and conviction rates from Kent Police via freedom of information legislation.

He said: “They keep saying that the request passes the 18 hour threshold for the time it would take to research the request. Frankly, I find that hard to believe.”

County councillor Sean Holden (Con)
County councillor Sean Holden (Con)

After being elected to a third term of office last month, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said: “Over the last eight years, I have significantly increased the number of officers in Kent and the force now has more than ever before. I will use those officers to bolster neighbourhood policing, make our streets safer and bring more criminals to justice.”

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