More crime but less charges being made by Kent Police

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Kent Police has defended their policies after a rise in recorded crime and a fall in charges over the past three years.

Latest figures, released last week by the BBC, show there were 131,500 crimes reported in the county in 2016/17, a 19 per cent rise from the 110,300 reported in 2014/15.

In the same period the number of charges has fallen 15 per cent, from 16,000 to 13,600.

The trend has been replicated across the country with the BBC stating that ‘a squeeze on resources’ was to blame.

But, Kent Police said that charging offenders is not always the best cause of action.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Corbishley said: ‘When talking about charges, it is important to remember that a charge is one of 21 possible outcomes for recorded crime.

‘The prospect of a charge is based on the evidence available to officers and often the support of the victim going forward.

‘In some investigations, particularly in domestic abuse cases or sexual offences, victims may want police intervention but not necessarily prosecution.

‘Similarly, when dealing with children and young people, a charge may not be the best course of action and instead we will work with partners to educate young offenders and help redirect their lives for the better.’

The force’s figure for the rise in crime was below the national average of 21 per cent, while across the UK, charges fell by 11 per cent, compared to Kent’s 15 per cent.

Kent’s figures show there has been a rise over the past three years in possession or weapons, robbery, violence and sex offences, but a fall in drug offences, criminal damage and theft.

During that time there was also a rise in charges for possession of weapons, robbery and violence.

But the overall number of charges decreased, because of the fall in charges for theft, criminal damage, drug and sex offences.

ACC Corbishley continued: ‘Regardless of the outcome, Kent Police’s focus is always on the victim’s needs.

‘In terms of crime levels increasing, this is not an issue unique to Kent and there has been a genuine increase in reported crime across the country.

‘However improved crime recording practices – where one incident may create numerous crime reports based on the number of victims, when previously only one report would be generated – and a rise in reporting non-recent sexual offences have had significant impacts on the statistics.’

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