Published: 16:18, 18 June 2021
| Updated: 16:20, 18 June 2021
A police initiative pushing to make streets safer has seen officers visit more than 1,300 homes in a bid to crackdown on crime.
The Medway Task Force, which was formed in February 2020, has been trying to reduce incidents and boost community spirit in Gillingham.
The town centre area has been targeted with officers visiting homes to offer crime prevention advice and handing out more than 1,000 items to residents to protect their homes.
These products have included property marking kits, door chains and shed alarms.
A new CCTV camera in James Street has also been fitted and signs put up warning would-be thieves of the increased measures being taken.
Supt Rob Marsh, Kent Police deputy divisional commander for North Kent, said: "The Medway Task Force launched with the overarching aim of preventing crime and protecting the most vulnerable people in our area.
"Grassroots community engagement has always been the foundation of what we do and it is something we take exceptional pride in.
"It is about more than just targeting criminals and locking them up – preventing crime and empowering residents is also vitally important.
"It is therefore really pleasing to hear of the excellent contributions our officers have made, and it is clear to see that our multi agency partnership approach is achieving meaningful results that I am sure will be long lasting.
"Moving ahead, I am confident this team will build on their early successes and bring about long term change for the people who need it most."
The task force is a partnership between police, Medway Council and other public services.
The council has also cleared 45 tonnes of waste from the streets – the majority of which had been fly-tipped – since the scheme was established.
Regular patrols to remove litter and offer waste disposal advice have also taken place with enforcement action being taken.
The work has seen recycling in the area increase by 66%.
Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said: "This sort of project has a huge impact on people’s lives and I’m delighted it’s been such a success.
"It’s been a partnership programme and I want to thank everyone who has worked on it and made such a difference.
"We have two further similar schemes planned for parts of Ramsgate and Canterbury and I’m hopeful they will see similar benefits."
Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s portfolio holder for community services, said: "We want all residents across Medway to love the area they live in and to help keep their homes and communities feel safe.
"I am pleased with the work we have been doing in partnership with the Medway Task Force since last October, it’s been a very successful project and it has been pleasing to see such positive changes in a short amount of time.
"We will continue to work with partner agencies to ensure that residents love where they live."
The project has also seen 1,300 schoolchildren in Year 6 taught about staying safe with sessions talking about the internet, fire, water and road safety supported by the RNLI, Coastguard and Crimestoppers.