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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.’

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Dormouse copyright Ian Rickards

Dormouse copyright Ian Rickards

Kent Wildlife Trust is dismayed that, once again, the government has ignored its own policies meant to protect the natural environment, and has given permission for the destruction of 31 hectares of ancient woodland in order to extend Gallagher Aggregates’ Hermitage Lane quarry near Maidstone.

This irreplaceable habitat is known to support many rare and threatened species including dormice, six species of bat, birds and insects. More

Kent Wildlife Trust have a fantastic event for the week begining of the 27th May at Blean between Canterbury and Whitstable. Click on the link below to visit their page with all of the information you need. Fun and learning activities for all the family.

http://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/whats/blean-woodland-festival
blean_festival_queens_of_the_forest

Students from Invicta Grammar School in Maidstone, Kent will become real-life engineers for on Thursday (April 18) when they research, design and build solutions to real engineering problems. More

Kent’s leading wildlife charity is calling upon the horse riding fraternity to support its cross country ride this spring to raise vital funding towards the conservation of local wildlife.

The third Kent Wildlife Trust Charity Ride, supported by Barclays Bank and Lillicos Country Stores, will be held on Sunday 14th April. More

A Walk in the Woods Week 27 October – 4 November 2012
This autumn, the Ramblers are holding a festival to celebrate British woodland and encourage families to enjoy the simple pleasure of a walk in the woods. A Walks in the Woods Week runs from 27 October – 4 November, with free led walks taking place across Great Britain, it’s a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the colours and wildlife of local woodland in the crisp autumnal air – and keep the whole family active this half term. More

Are you aged between 12 and 17 years and have a flair for painting or drawing and would like the chance to win some fantastic prizes? then Nucleus Art Gallery in Gabriel’s Hill, Maidstone needs you.

Paint, draw sketch a picture with the theme of 2012. Size to be no larger than A3 and all work must be framed as we will be exhibiting your artwork within the gallery for one month.

Our competition is free to enter and further details can be found on www.nucleus-arts.com – just click on the Maidstone tab

Closing date is Saturday 22nd September.

Advance registration is required as entries are strictly limited to the first 75 entrants. To register please EMAIL US with your name, address, age and telephone number

Maidstone based company GP Acoustics UK Limited, manufacturers of KEF Audio products, has been named the best manufacturing business in the country in a prestigious award ceremony in London. More

MAIDSTONE Saturday 10th December 7.30 pm at the Mote Hall. Rutter’s Magnificat, and Christmas carols for choir and audience. With Maidstone Choral Union, Brunswick House School Choir, Mandy Ellen School of Dance For tickets (7-15) phone 01622 726193

If you ever visit the nature reserve on the foreshore at Grain and relax on one of the recently arrived benches you will find it a pleasantly calming experience. There probably won’t be many other people about but any strangers who do happen by will smile and chat for as much or little time as you like. And if you choose to rest your rear on the seat below the carpark you may notice that it bears a nifty plaque dedicated to our mum. The dates tell that she died over 40 years ago and you may wonder what on earth took us so long. More

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