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County crime figures down

Monday 5th October 2015

RECORDED crime in Kent continues to go down – with the force among the most accurate in the UK at recording offences.

There were 1,500 fewer victims of crime between July 2014 and June 2015 than in the same period the previous year.

Speaking at the Governance Board meeting, Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said these most recent figures were the first truly comparative victim-based crime statistic for two years, after a period when the data was skewed by the shift away from numerical targets towards providing a quality service for victims.

Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes said: “Since 2013, Kent Police has consistently been recording crime at 96% accuracy - and that’s a remarkable achievement when the national average is only 80%.

“For two years it meant recorded crime went up quite dramatically here in Kent, following a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary which found – that at 90% accuracy – improvements had to be made.”

But she assured: “Improving recording was the right thing to do. If you’re a victim of crime you want to see your crime on the books and properly investigated.”

The board also received an update on the role of local police officers in tackling serious organised crime.

Mrs Barnes said: “Organised crime groups don’t operate in isolation. Members of them are part of our local communities, possibly living next door to us or friends of ours. Dealing with them is not just a job for the Serious Crime Directorate, but for us all as responsible citizens. We all need to be vigilant and report any suspicions we may have of the odd or worrying behaviour by individuals or groups who live amongst us.”

Reacting to a recent spending review announcement by Chancellor George Osborne, Mrs Barnes warned that Kent Police would have to endure an extra year of austerity, taking the total cuts to Kent Police’s funding to £124million over 10 years.

“Since 2010 we’ve had £50 million of cuts to funding so far and the next four years could mean £61 million more. About £124 million will have been taken out of the Kent Police budget by 2020, which will have a huge impact on policing in Kent – and this is the best case scenario,” she warned.

Her office has mitigated against some of the impending cuts by approving the use of £5.5 million of cash reserves over the next three years, a move which has been welcomed by the Chief Constable.