PCC says crime figures will fall after Kent found to be worst in the south

PCC says crime figures will fall after Kent found to be worst in the south
Matthew Scott, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner

According to the last raft of official figures, Kent has the seventh highest number of recorded crimes per population in the UK, and tops the list in the south, beating even London.

It is the only force area in the south of England to be in the bottom ten.

The county also has the second highest level of violent crimes in the country, with only West Yorkshire reporting more.

This is despite Kent Police and Crime Commissioner [PCC], Matthew Scott, increasing Council Tax in the county by around £24 per household to fund new officers last year.

But the ONS [Office for National Statistics] data only shows figures for the 12 months up to June 2019, where there were 106 recorded crimes for every 1,000 people in the county – which puts it four places higher than London where only 99 crimes are recorded for the same number of people.

West Yorkshire tops the list at 128 recorded crimes.

But new figures from the ONS, due to be released later this month, are set to show statistics for the whole of last year, and Matthew Scott told the Times that he expects these will show a fall in crime numbers.

He said: “Police recorded crime data is not a gold-standard measure of performance. Comparisons between force areas can be misleading due to differences in population and the fact that some forces, like Kent, are better at recording crime accurately than others.

“I don’t set numerical targets. To understand the bigger picture I prefer to look at victim satisfaction surveys, hospital admissions data, correspondence from members of the public, and I consider feedback from my commissioned services like Victim Support too.

“What is important to me is knowing that Kent Police is working to tackle crime, wherever it takes place.

“I am pleased to say the Chief Constable is recruiting additional police officers to tackle priority areas such as burglary and domestic abuse. Extra officers are being deployed to town centres to deal with incidents of violence, anti-social behaviour and shoplifting; and PCSO numbers are increasing too.

“Communities are starting to see the benefits of these officers. I anticipate that the next ONS data, when it is published, will show that recorded crime decreased in Kent over the 12 month period to September 2019.”

The 2019 ONS Crime in England and Wales report is due to be published on January 23.

Taser use doubles

POLICE in Kent drew Tasers on nearly 600 occasions in 2018-2019, but officers only discharged the devices 71 times, figures show.

In total, Kent’s officers drew a Taser on 588 occasions over 12 months.

While police only discharged the weapon on only one in eight of those occasions, it is still double the previous year when 35 Tasers were discharged at suspected criminals.

In March 2019, chief constable of Kent Police Alan Pughsley announced all frontline officers including special constables would have the opportunity to be trained, accredited and equipped with a Taser.

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