According to many reports Maidstone & The Weald is a safe place to live. That is largely due our excellent police service, their partner agencies, our church leaders and to the watchfulness of our neighbourhood communities.
But bad things can still happen here, and there are threats from London where criminals are looking for new markets; we cannot be complacent and we must be proactive.
Knife crime has doubled across Kent in the last five years, mainly in the North of the County, but I know that it is a growing concern for the authorities in Maidstone.
Kent Police have developed an excellent education programme which aims to inform young people and (just as importantly) their teachers and parents about spotting the signals and understanding the realities.
Last week, therefore, I was pleased to join with Kent Police, youth group leaders and my neighbouring MP colleague Tracey Crouch, to discuss how we can help get these messages 'out there'.
Some schools seem to be averse to engagement with the subject, to avoid any negative association with their institution. Some parents also seem to be naïve as to the possibility of their children being involved in any way or vulnerable to victimisation.
I understand both standpoints but that doesn't protect our children and I speak as a mum and a former family lawyer with experience. We must put these stigmas behind us and face the realities. This is trouble waiting to happen and we can prevent it if we are forewarned and prepared.
A special information meeting is taking place at the Vine Church, Boughton Lane, Maidstone on 20th September at 19:00. I urge all schools to send a representative and any parents reading this should also try to go along to get a helpful steer. For information please contact Maidstone Police at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gangs and knives don't need to be a problem in this constituency. Let's work together to prevent that happening.
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