British Transport Police officers

Town centre police patrols have been using a knife bar in the heart of Maidstone as part of an increased focus on detecting and preventing people carrying weapons.

Ongoing work to deter violence, and crackdown on other issues such as county lines criminality, has also been assisted by colleagues from British Transport Police (BTP).

High visibility patrols were out in force on Wednesday 7 July, monitoring areas including Brenchley Gardens, Week Street, Earl Street and Jubilee Square. Proactive measures included weapon sweeps and the use of the knife bar. BTP officers patrolled areas within and close to Maidstone East train station.

Police in Maidstone with the portable knife bar

The number of visitors to the town centre was greater than normal due to people watching England play in the Euro 2020 semi-final and Maidstone officers were also focused on keeping people safe in and around pubs and clubs. Despite a number of large gatherings only two arrests were made during the evening, one for an affray and the other linked to outstanding offences.

Inspector Steve Kent said: ‘Maidstone has a vibrant night-time economy and the vast majority of people act responsibly and are well behaved. However, having an enhanced police presence in key areas such as train stations and town centre locations remains key to tackling and reducing violent crime. It also ensures we are able to effectively target those who seek to travel from other areas, such as gang members intent on supplying drugs, or those who use the train network to carry out other crimes such as shoplifting.

‘Partnership work, such as with British Transport Police, as well as our relationships with local retailers and licensees, remain so important in ensuring that on the whole Maidstone remains a safe place for its residents and visitors. Please also remember that your help remains vital. You can be our eyes and ears, so if you see anything suspicious call 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress.’

By Ed