Rising crime felt hardest in some Tunbridge Wells wards

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Rising crime levels in Tunbridge Wells have been felt hardest in Sherwood and Culverden wards, data has shown.

Overall, the number of crimes reported in the town rose 24.7 per cent in the 12 months up to November 2017 but the borough still keeps its tag as statistically the safest in Kent.

The figures were seen by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, who passed their Community Safety Partnership plan for 2018/19 in a meeting on Wednesday [April 25].

These included latest documents showing ward by ward figures for residential burglaries, criminal damage, shoplifting, violence and antisocial behaviour, recorded from April 2017 to November 2017.

Although Sherwood and Culverden were not top of the list for all areas of crime, the wards were consistently posted some of the leading figures.

The report stated: ‘Sherwood and Benchley & Horsmonden [with 21 and 22 incidents respectively] recorded the highest number of residential burglaries.

‘Culverden and Sherwood [both with 67 incidents] saw the highest number of criminal damage reports with Southborough & High Brooms ward next, with 57.

‘Shoplifting is expectedly higher in town wards than other areas, with Park and Culverden wards at 100 and 57, respectively. Sherwood, which includes North Farm and Knights Park, also saw a high number of shoplifting events at 78.’

The highest wards for violent crime [which includes violence against the person, robbery and sexual offences] were Park [238], Culverden [234] and Sherwood [196], with Southborough and High Brooms not far behind on 170.

In terms of antisocial behaviour, 198 reports were recorded for Sherwood with Culverden on 154 and Park on 124.

There was no data to show if crime had gone up ward by ward.

The report added: ‘High numbers may not offer a true picture of crime in a ward.’

The Community Safety Partnership plan will see the authority combine with Kent County Council, Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue to look at ways to combat crime.

The partnership’s priorities for 2018/19 will be: Domestic abuse, road safety, safeguarding [which encompasses gangs, organised crime, modern slavery and child sex exploitation] and alcohol and drug abuse.

To address these priorities, the body will engaged with local agencies to work out a plan. For example local domestic abuse charity DAVSS has been commissioned to provide programmes to help sufferers.

Matthew Scott, Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, has pledged a 10 per cent increase in funding to the partnership and will now spend £31,332.

In the council meeting, Cllr Paul Barrington-King said: ‘We continue to be the safest place in Kent and this plan is the right thing to do, with the right priorities.’

Members were heartened by news that Tunbridge Wells remains the statistically the safest place in the county.

Across Kent, there was a 27 per cent rise in crime between October 2016 and September 2017.

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