Knife Crime and Serious Youth Violence Topic Review
Cllr Rana updated the Committed with the work being done on the Knife Crime and Serious Youth Violence Topic Review.
There have been two workshops where a number of different parties were invited to. It was well attended and the feedback and questions were very positive. One of the main points that was mentioned was that although a lot of work was being done in the background this was not communicated to residents either via social media or through websites.
What was found was that perception of crime plays a big part in in people feeling safe. Reporting needs to be encouraged and the police need to communicate positive actions. PACT meetings are a great way of the police communicating with communities and a good way of putting their worries and issues across and the Police being able to know what areas they should be focusing on.
Attendance is crucial that the police attend any incidents. Early reporting of crimes allows the PCSO’s to stop any further crime. At Kings Farm and Whitehill the PCO’s, who patrolled the area, are quick to respond to local issues e.g. car crime or unruly behaviour by teenagers and actually stopped further crime happening.
PCO’s that are out patrolling in those areas have regular contact with the local councillors, which is good.
Another area that was reviewed was the statistics of crime. The improvement statistics that Kent Police have made on knife crime was hardly known or there was very little information available to the public. People need to know where to go to view these statistics and also be able to report a crime online. Publishing the statistics has shown that Gravesham is one of the quietest towns in Kent regarding knife crime.
The second part of the review was regarding young people. How do the different organisations in Kent engage with them to stop knife crime becoming a real issue. What was found was that there was no central place where activities were being advertised to inform children and young people where to go and participate in the clubs / activities. Not many people knew that Charlton Football Club were hosting a “kick about” at Kings Farm. The Violence Reduction Unit mentioned this event which had a real positive effect as it took a number of children off the streets to play a game of football. This should be advertised as positive news.
What was also found was that the Northfleet Youth Hub, The Grand, and youth clubs were hosting events that were being run successfully but were not being advertised anywhere so parents and guardians were unaware they could take children to these events. Communication has to get better along with engagement with young people to inform them of where to go for events in their local area. Whilst there is an issue, there is a lot of good work happening to reduce knife crime further.
From May 2022, further funding from the Government will be available to run youth programmes in Kent for the next two years. Any youth activity can apply and, if viable, funding will be provided.
The Assistant Director (Communities) explained that additional background papers had been received, including statistics. These will be circulated to the Topic Review Group.
The previous Committee received a summary report and recommendations to date and from that an additional meeting was identified to look at knife crime issues in young people. The Assistant Director (Communities) explained that as the next Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Committee was not until October a draft report would be completed with the Topic Review Group. This could be reported to the Community Safety Partnership as an interim stage. This would be timely as the CSP also has a new duty in respect of serious violence and a strategic assessment will be reported to the CSP shortly. A final Topic Review report could then be discussed and agreed at the next Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Committee.
The Chair thanked Cllr Rana and the Assistant Director (Communities) for the information given.