Kent Police Update
The Acting CSU Inspector, James Beautridge provided the Committee with a Kent Police update that included the following:
· Gravesend Town Centre Policing: 12 months, 2 officers – 123 arrests. A third officer has also joined the proactive and positive team.
· First drugs closure order – 3 month closure order – landlord has evicted the occupants from property.
· A 5 year criminal behaviour order has been issued
· 8 further applications are sitting with the court – shoplifting, street drinking, drug taking – delayed due to the pandemic, the Police are waiting for court dates.
· Tobacco – last year 150,000 cigarettes (fake or imported) were seized
· 604 pouches of illegal tobacco were seized (illegal tobacco) – closure orders are being explored.
· Organised crime group – child sexual exploitation
· High visibility patrolling is a priority.
· Community protection notices, challenging street drinkers
· Enforcing Covid-19 regulations
· Covid-19: additional strain on the Police – isolation, track and trace, close contact with the public.
· Operation Chestnut: provides 2 officers per day on the late shift (2pm and midnight) – ring fenced to deal with Covid-19 matters. Saturday and Sunday; 2 further officers support the Police between 10am and 6pm. This allows the Police to maintain their usual police functions.
· Gravesham Police: 750 calls on Covid-19 breaches – attended all, some have been malicious
· Quarantine breaches – 75 calls
· April 2020 – North Kent Police: 189 Fixed Penalty Notices for breaches
· Crime types:
- Burglaries: reduction due to lockdown, targeting known offenders, repeat victims, enhanced service, peephole door cameras, shed alarms, window alarms
- Vehicle crime: due to lockdown there are more witnesses to crime: massive decrease.
- Robbery: slight increase over 2% - many linked to gangs, illegal supply of drugs, county lines, drug debts, targeting offenders regularly. Street robberies 4 on remand. General robberies: low
· Joint operation with the British Transport Police, MET and Kent Police at the train station: knife arches, drugs dog – seized a machete knife off someone last week, seized drugs (multi agency approach)
· Drug traffic offences are down – took a lot off the streets last year
· Dismantling County Lines – criminals are scared to come to Gravesham.
· Drug Possession has gone up 40%: using stop and search fairly and effectively
· Weapons – massive increase in detection of knives – this is because the Police are detecting it more (not more people with knives) we take it off them then seek remand in custody for public safety.
· Violent crime: increases across the whole borough: a lot is to do with the way its recorded section 5 or 4 public order offence(e.g. if someone shouts abuse at a person its recorded as violent crime)
· Harassment / stalking: seen a rise – a lot of harassment cases have been online, ex partners etc.
· Stalking: domestic abuse victims disclose some control or coercive behaviours
· Violent crime: third highest in Kent – serious youth violent crime unit – get in early, prevent re-offending.
· Domestic abuse: rise seen nationally – people in lockdown every day – friction – a lot of reports from third parties (neighbours) – actively doing campaigns – putting out media messages.
· Next week: Vulnerability Investigation Team will attend all Domestic Abuse incidents – specially trained give people more confidence.
· E-scooters: can ride on private land, but not on roads or public places. There are some exemptions in London but in Gravesham you need a licence, insurance, helmet
The Acting CSU Inspector, James Beautridge fielded questions from the Committee and highlighted the following:
· Fixed Penalty Notices are £200, this drops down to £100 if paid early. In the event that a FPN is not paid; the Police officer is asked for further evidence to create a case which is reviewed by the Criminal Justice Department and a summons is issued followed by a hearing.
· The Acting CSU Inspector, James Beautridge will look into whether E-scooters need an MOT.
· Nitrous-oxide canisters are a public health issue. Our main target is people who are supplying them which is part of the ASB / Patrol strategy.
· ASB involving ‘dirt bikes’ and motorcycles is a difficult issue to tackle. The CSU and local Policing team are the best to contact / report to. The Police are trying to find new ways of dealing with this issue, bikes have been seized and crushed but new ones appear. The issue will never be totally eradicated but it can be reduced.
Cllr Lauren Sullivan advised that, in her role as a KCC Cllr, she would be happy to work with Kent Police to help prevent Violent Youth Crime.
The Committee commended Kent Police for their good work in the Town Centre and thanked Acting CSU Inspector, James Beautridge for the update.