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Medway Council to consider Community Safety Partnership plan to combat violence against women and girls - including more plainclothes police on streets

A council is considering plans to draft in more plainclothes police officers to step in and prevent assaults on women and girls on nights out.

Medway Council’s cabinet will consider a new Community Safety Partnership (CSP) plan which sets out the priorities and methods for reducing crime and disorder across the Towns over the next three years.

High Street, Rochester. Stock photo. Picture: Alex Watson
High Street, Rochester. Stock photo. Picture: Alex Watson

The CSP sets out four priorities for policing: tackle anti-social behaviour, reduce re-offending, preventing violence against women and girls, and crack down on problems related to drugs and alcohol.

The plan is an agreement between Medway Council, Kent Police, the Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board (ICB), the Probation Service, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, and other key stakeholders.

The previous plan was agreed in 2020 and was in action until this year.

The report, which will be considered by the authority’s cabinet tonight (July 9), says the new plan and its goals have been developed through assessment of the issues currently facing the Towns and gives steps to be taken to combat them.

For violence against women and girls, the CSP plan has a two-pronged approach in aggressively targeting known and potential offenders and providing better support for victims.

An increased police presence on the streets will be considered. Photo: Stock image
An increased police presence on the streets will be considered. Photo: Stock image

To do this, the plan says partners intend to step up policing to be more visible in town centres and other public spaces.

This includes policing through Project Vigilant - where plainclothes officers are active to identify potential offenders who might prey upon vulnerable people on a night out and step in before sexual assault or other crimes are committed.

The CSP plan aims to make high streets and town centres safe spaces during the evenings, but also has a focus on reducing domestic violence through providing education opportunities to better identify when it might be occurring and how to report it.

The plan also requires partners to assess their own performance and report how to improve if they are lacking.

For reducing reoffending, partners are to help break barriers to criminals who have served their time in getting work, accommodation, and increase their personal well-being in an attempt to help them avoid spiraling into further criminality.

To do this, the plan aims to increase the availability of Creating Future Opportunity (CFO) Activity Hubs, where people leaving prison can build skills and take part in activities to build healthier, more stable, and fulfilling lives.

In order to tackle problems relating to drugs and alcohol, Kent Police is to increase efforts to break up organised gangs, disrupting supply lines and support those at risk of falling into criminality.

Health partners in the CSP will reduce the prescribing of habit forming prescribed drugs, provide routes for people in or leaving prison to get support to quit drugs and alcohol, and deliver more education around harm reduction and awareness for children.

The plan had been discussed at the regeneration, culture, and environment overview and scrutiny committee on June 13.

And while councillors were concerned about the lack of in-depth detail they were assured by officers the version provided is a streamlined version for ease of reading and in future more information would be provided.

The plan will be discussed at the cabinet meeting on July 9 and, if approved, will go before all councillors on July 18.

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