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Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, has launched a new grants scheme to help local people.

The ‘Commissioner’s Fund’ will give away £100,000 over the next financial year. It aims to support the hundreds of unique, community-led projects that can make a real difference to safety and crime prevention in our towns and villages.

Voluntary organisations and not for profit groups will be able to apply for grants up to £2,000 that demonstrate a positive impact on a community.

Applications, which open today, must meet one or more of the following criteria:

• Prevent and reduce re-offending

• Support victims of crime

• Empower local communities to work together to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour

All grants will initially be reviewed by the Kent People’s Trust – a local charity that aims to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour – with the final decision being made by the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, and where appropriate with input from the new Youth Commissioner.

Discussing the launch of the new scheme, Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to be able to launch this grant scheme for local people. Local communities know their patch and they understand what needs to be done to make it a better place.

‘I firmly believe that even a small investment will rally local people into playing their part in finding community solutions for local issues. I want people to be innovative and creative with their ideas and I’m really looking forward to giving local communities a cash injection.’

Bryn Price, Director of Kent People’s Trust said: ‘The charity has over 12 years of experience in community grants and we are really delighted to have been asked to provide our expertise as part of this new exciting project. Both the charity and the Commissioner have one common aim and that’s to make Kent a safer place.’

Applications will be accepted throughout the year. Full terms and conditions and information on how to apply can be found at www.kent-pcc.gov.uk/commissionersfund

Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, has given Kent Police a ‘clean bill of health’ following the latest inspection, released today, by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) into the force’s crime recording practices.ann-barnes-3.jpgdeserve. Now the second inspection – carried out in November 2013 and published today – has seen an improvement in Kent Police’s accuracy level from 90 per cent to 96 per cent.

The latest inspection report found that Kent Police had:

• ‘Responded positively’ to the concerns raised by the first report by significantly improving accuracy in crime recording, including no-crime decisions
• Put in place a comprehensive action plan to address the recommendations from the first inspection
• Moved away from a target-based approach to focus on quality of service
• Ensured officers and staff had a clear understanding of their priorities without any pressure to chase targets
• Had surveyed victims identified in the first report as well introducing an appeals process for victims in cases where a crime is either not recorded, or where a crime is initially recorded but subsequently ‘no crimed’

Commenting on the latest report, Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, said: ‘I am delighted with the latest independent inspection as it clearly highlights the hard work that the Force has undertaken to overhaul crime recording procedures. I am now confident that the people of Kent can have trust in their crime figures. Kent Police didn’t bury their heads in the sand but tackled head-on the difficult findings from the first inspection. Kent is the first force to be independently inspected and it’s now time for all police forces in the country to take an independent look at their own crime figures. All local communities must have trust in their forces crime recording figures.

‘Kent Police must now sustain this high level of accuracy and I expect the new Chief Constable to make this his constant focus now and in the future. It is imperative that the force’s culture on crime recording does not slip back to the bad old days. As the Kent newchief Police and Crime Commissioner I will be holding the Chief Constable to account to deliver this. One of the reasons why I chose Alan Pughsley to be our new Chief Constable is because I have confidence that he can, and will, deliver on this.’

The HMIC’s Rape Monitoring Group also released its latest report today, summarising the national picture of rape offences against adults and children.

The report, showed during 1st April 2012 – 31st March 2013 Kent Police had, for adult rape offences:

• A recorded crime rate below the national average (231 cases)
• A sanction detection rate in line with the national average (18 per cent)
• A ‘no crime’ rate that is in line with the national average (13 per cent)

For child rape offences the report found:
• A recorded crime rate below the national average (177 cases)
• A sanction detection rate above the national average (40 per cent)
• A ‘no crime’ rate that is in line with the national average (5 per cent)

Commenting on the rape report, Mrs Barnes said: ‘These are horrendous crimes and whilst the report shows that Kent is at the national average I am not complacent. I expect better and I want to see the numbers improved. However, the figures are historic and do not take into account the vast strides Kent Police has made since June 2013 in overhauling crime recording procedures, particularly when it comes to recording ‘no crime’.

‘This report is timely and completely vindicates my decision to call in HMIC to forensically and independently examine our crime recording practices.

‘It is only with clear and transparent statistics – which at this stage do not always make happy reading – that we can move forward to really examine Kent Police’s performance.’

HMIC is due to return to inspect Kent Police in 2014 as part of a national inspection into ‘crime data integrity’ which will compare all 43 police forces across England and Wales.

newchiefKent’s Police and Crime Commissioner and the county’s most senior police officer visited Medway’s innovative CCTV hub today to see how it keeps more than 600,000 people safe.

The hub, which was started by Medway Council in April last year, looks after CCTV cameras for Medway, Gravesham, Maidstone and Swale.

In total, it helps keep the streets safe for an area with a population similar to a city the size of Sheffield.

And the centre – which allows councils across Kent to operate CCTV much more cheaply – has been behind numerous arrests.

In fact, since it started in April 2012 and up to November last year the centre and its operators were responsible for helping bring about 5,095 arrests across Kent.

Last year alone the hub was behind more than 2,000 arrests.

The centre – which looks after 750 cameras – is used to watch over town centres night and day at spots where people gather – such as High Streets – as well as areas that people have to use late at night, such as outside train stations.

It can also track alleged criminals travelling into Kent from elsewhere to direct police to their whereabouts.

For example, the centre was recently alerted to keep a look out for three males known to be travelling to North Kent from London with intent to supply drugs.

The centre’s operators spotted the men at Gillingham railway station and called police as they headed towards the town’s High Street.

One was arrested, but two of the men ran off. The CCTV operators were able to track them as they made their getaway until they were later picked up.

In other incidents it has also helped find missing vulnerable people including a man who left Medway Maritime Hospital and was found at Chatham High Street.

At today’s visit, Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes and newly appointed Chief Constable for Kent Police Alan Pughsley were being shown around the hub by Medway Council Deputy Leader Cllr Alan Jarrett and Cllr Peter Hicks, the Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Customer Engagement.

Commenting on the visit, Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Commissioner said: ‘It was fantastic to visit one of the largest CCTV Centres in the country today. Having seen the Centre for myself I can absolutely reassure the people of Kent that this is true partnership working at its very best. I’m confident that the joint CCTV centre is value for money for the taxpayer and there is a phenomenal amount of work going on behind the scenes to keep everyone safe.’

Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: ‘This is a great example of the police and local authorities working in partnership to keep the public safe. Collaboration and
joined-up working across public services is absolutely critical, and this is a very good example of that in action, working to the benefit of Kent residents.’
Medway Council approved the formation of a CCTV Services Partnership in 2012 to improve the service and provide value for money. It is estimated to save each local authority 20 per cent of the cost of running their own CCTV service, as well as reducing crime.

Cllr Alan Jarrett said: ‘I am pleased that Ann Barnes and the new Chief Constable have come to our centre to see the good work that is being done helping keep people safe across Kent.

‘This innovative operation allows council across the county to have a CCTV service while keeping costs down. That is important in this time of austerity

Cllr Peter Hicks added: ‘Our hub allows many other councils to have a CCTV operation at a cost they can afford. It also allows Medway’s residents to have the same service while keeping costs down, which is good for the taxpayer.

‘It was very good to show the Commissioner and Chief Constable our centre and to show how all our staff are committed to work at keeping Medway and wider Kent safe for residents.’

A full report into the recruitment of the “Youth” Police Commissioner has been published today. If you would like to read the full report follow this link. Report in full

Commissioner Ann Barnes

Commissioner Ann Barnes


Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Ann Barnes, today published an Independent Review into the recruitment and selection processes used to appoint Paris Brown in early 2013. Read More

The first ever Police and Crime Commissioner Elections are scheduled to take place next Thursday, 15 November 2012.
The elections will see 41 Police and Crime Commissioners elected across England and Wales for the first time, charged with making and influencing key policing decisions in their area. More

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