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Reports of dog attacks rise while anti-social behaviour falls, Kent Police statistics show

Kent has witnessed a sharp increase in dog bites in recent months, according to newly-released police figures.

Statistics show there were 61 more instances of "animal nuisance" between November 2023 and January 2024 compared to the same period last year.

A Jack Russell was attacked by a mastiff-type dog last month. Stock image
A Jack Russell was attacked by a mastiff-type dog last month. Stock image

The figures were contained in a report by Kent Police Chief Constable Tim Smith to the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner (KPCC) Matthew Scott.

It states: "Animal nuisance/dog bites with an increase of 42.1%, 61 more incidents. 206 incidents were reported in the three-month period compared to 145 in the same period last year."

The report does not explain what may have driven the increase.

Just last month KentOnline reported on a horrific dog attack in Rochester. The traumatising moment a pensioner’s beloved Jack Russell was savaged by a mastiff type dog was caught on camera, with the pet, called Wilfie ultimately having to be put down.

Also in the report, the inappropriate use of fireworks increased by 43%, from 55 to 79 in the same timeframe.

Overall antisocial behaviour (ASB) decreased by 5.2% or 257 fewer incidents. The biggest fall was experienced in January this year.

Chief Constable Tim Smith
Chief Constable Tim Smith

The period studied also showed a significant drop in other categories of crimes.

Victim-based crime was down by 4.9% from 35,403 to 33,662.

The number of suspects interviewed for shoplifting and retail crime shot up by 43.7% (from 952 to 1,368) and subsequent charges also rose by 44% (from 628 to 905).

The report states: "In the three-month period, there have been 1,368 reports where a suspect has been interviewed for a shoplifting offence which is an increase of 43.7% with 416 more suspects interviewed in the same period last year.

"All three months have seen increases on the previous year. December 2023 saw the most notable increase with 438 reports with a suspect interviewed, an increase of 61.0%, 166 more suspects interviewed."

A dedicated beat team has seen more officers on the streets. Stock picture
A dedicated beat team has seen more officers on the streets. Stock picture

The figures come as the force has reviewed the launch of its Neighbourhood Policing Model, which launched in June last year.

Chief Constable Smith wrote in his report to the KPCC's performance and delivery board, which sat on Wednesday: "(The new model) streamlined a number of different roles into three distinct teams – a Beat Team, a Child Centred Policing Team and a Neighbourhood Task Force supported by specialist Antisocial Behaviour (ASB) and Licensing officers.

"The Rural Task Force was increased with additional Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) to further develop engagement between the rural community and police.

"Since the model’s inception the number of staff within these teams has been gradually increasing as more officers join Kent Police as part of the national police uplift programme.

"Residents in Kent will have seen more police officers visible within their designated ward and parish areas dealing with those ASB and crime issues which have a negative impact on local communities.

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott
Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott

"These officers have been positively welcomed by councillors and residents alike who have seen the benefit of having a named police officer for their local area who is visible and responsive to the issues raised by them."

Mr Scott recently secured funding from the Home Office to deliver extra visible policing in "hotspot" areas to drive down crime to run alongside the new neighbourhood policing model.

This is seeing police officers deployed to local communities and schools, he said.

The commissioner also launched an “immediate justice” programme from October.

It will see those committing antisocial behaviour forced to undertake some payback to the community within 48 hours of the offence being committed.

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