Kent Messenger Column - 12-07-18
Prior to becoming an MP in 2010 I was a solicitor for 23 years and witnessed, at first-hand, the impact that violent crime can have upon victims, their families, friends and the local community.
I am greatly encouraged, therefore, that recorded crime overall has fallen, now being a third lower than it was a decade ago, and Kent remains a very safe place to live. However, in the last few years, there has been a noticeable increase in violent crime, rising by 47% in the last year in Kent, with Maidstone ranking highly amongst the hotspots for violent crime in our county.
Matthew Scott, our excellent Police and Crime Commissioner in Kent, has rightly identified tackling this issue as a top priority for Kent Police and has now launched his Violence Reduction Challenge, which has begun with a wide-ranging public consultation.
This is a major challenge and redressing it will require real partnership working and co-operation. Constituents of Maidstone & The Weald can play a significant part by responding to Matthew Scott's survey here and I would encourage everyone to do so.
Our PCC is acting in concert with central Government who have also published a serious violence strategy, committing to innovative prevention and robust law enforcement and backed up by £40 million of funding.
I look forward to the outcomes of Matthew's consultation and hope to see a reversal in violent crime in Kent as the plan unfolds.
On a final, more contemporaneous note; by the time this newspaper is published the two big events of this week will have taken place; England's first World Cup semi-final in 28 years and the Centenary of the Royal Air Force. If our government, the people and the media get behind our Brexit challenge with the unity and gusto of our national football team, and take steel from the RAF motto 'through adversity to the stars', there's little we cannot achieve.
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