Kent Police and Crime Commissioner

PCC asks the Chief Constable whether there is enough emphasis on tackling crimes of violence against women in Kent.

Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott has sought assurances from the Chief Constable that the Force deals with violence against women and girls as a priority. During the pandemic there has been a rise in the number of Domestic Abuse cases being reported to the police, as well as a rise in stalking and harassment cases.

Mr. Scott, who was holding his quarterly Performance and Delivery Board Meeting (virtually to adhere to social distancing rules) said: “How would the force assess the topic of violence against women and girls in the country at the moment and what action is being taken to respond to any concerns?”

Chief Constable Alan Pughsley replied, “I hope you are reassured that the main crime types where women are the victims has always been and will always be a priority for Kent Police. The crime types where women are predominantly the victims are domestic abuse, stalking, harassment, coercion and control; similarly, the plethora of sexual offences from rape down to so-called lower level sexual touching. These victims have always been at the heart of our priority area and we’ve already spoken about the high level of victim satisfaction with the police response in dealing with their cases. But what I’ve done on top of that, is ask for a review on the focus of ANY women who are victims of ANY crime type. That review is going on as we speak. I’m sure you’ll be reassured that if you’re a woman victim of crime in Kent, you will receive exemplary service.”

Chief Constable Alan Pughsley

The two also discussed the growth of catalytic converter theft across the county. From July last year to February this year there were 351 such thefts reported, including from local hospital staff.

My Scott said, “An issue which has an important impact on local residents and which can involve organised crime, is catalytic converter theft. I know we were both appalled to hear some of these people were targeting NHS workers at a local hospital. Is there an update on police activity to catch people stealing them?”

The Chief Constable said, “Between last July and February there were 351 thefts, which is pretty high. But we’ve since had two operations, one in the east of the county where two suspects were arrested and charged with thirty offences and are now in custody on remand. Similarly, in the west of the county we had an operation involving the new PCSO Task Force, where seven people were arrested and are also in custody. So not being complacent, it’s positive and since the middle of May till early June we’ve only seen 8 thefts, so we appear to be in a better position.”

Mr Scott also praised the Force for the way it records crimes. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services has just revealed that Kent Police has a 96.7% integrity rate in crime recording, the highest in the country for the second time in a row.

Mr Scott said, “Huge congratulations to all concerned, they say to go one better than outstanding has to be exemplary. I know how difficult these inspections can be, so it’s a phenomenal performance and record.”

By Ed