Strengthening communities and keeping people safe is at the heart of the work carried out by the Medway Task Force.
The multi-agency team includes us, Kent Police and other partners who all have a common goal to tackle crime, prevent violence and safeguard those most vulnerable in the community.
The task force, which officially launched on Friday, 7 February 2020, is working under one roof with officers being deployed as a result of the increase in precept funding, approved by the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott.
Together they identify community issues that contribute to crime and focus on long-term solutions to prevent violence. Vulnerable people are protected and given access to the right support to improve their standard of living.
They have already been working together for several months, sharing information, problem solving, developing partnership solutions and carrying out enforcement activity.
Currently the team is focused on the Luton area of Chatham and is regularly engaging with residents, schools, businesses and local community groups.
Neil Davies, Medway Council’s Chief Executive, said: “We’re pleased that Medway now has its own task force, especially following the success in Margate. Medway Task Force is based at the council offices in Chatham, in the heart of Medway. This enables greater multi-agency working and allows the task force to react quickly to support communities across Medway.
“Teams across the council already provide support to residents living in Chatham, Strood, Rainham, Rochester and Gillingham, dealing with a range of matters including fly-tipping, anti-social behaviour and fraud. With all the agencies now working under one roof, Medway Task Force is able to provide a more joined-up and effective response to support communities and deal with the issues which matter most to residents.
“We’re committed to making a difference to residents’ lives and supporting our most vulnerable residents, giving them the confidence to safely live independently. Together we will help keep Medway a safe and enjoyable place to live, work, learn and visit.”
The range of work is diverse and focuses on reducing violent crime, vulnerability and strengthening communities. It has more recently resulted in:
- Community protection warnings being issued to people following anti-social behaviour in Luton. These warnings are aimed at preventing this behaviour which, if breached, will see people fined or facing court action
- Reminding residents of the ways in which they can keep their properties secure after a report of a distraction burglary in Luton. The victim received a visit from a suspicious man claiming to be from the water board. She was found in poor health and was referred to the relevant services to ensure she was supported. This work was carried out to prevent her from being isolated and ensure she is not targeted again.
- Victims of cuckooing, where drug dealers seek out people with addictions, disabilities and other health concerns, being identified and safeguarded by the team.
- The ongoing investigation of four people for illegal waste carrying and fly-tipping in Luton, which has been blighting the community.
Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: "The Medway Task Force has an important role to play in focusing on the causes of violent crime in the Medway towns and I’m pleased to see it is already having a positive impact within the community.
"The multi-agency team follows on from the success of a similar model we have in Margate, which has been recognised nationally as good practice for its efforts to promote a better quality of life for residents."
Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said: ‘While Kent remains a safe place to live, work and visit, communities have become increasingly concerned about reported rises in violent crime.
"So, in 2018, through my Violence Reduction Challenge, I brought key partners together to scrutinise the statistics and consider our joint response. It was during those discussions that the idea of a multi-agency Medway Task Force was first raised.
"Kent Police made an early commitment to support the unit with officers funded by my budget decisions. I am delighted to see those officers working closely with our partners to tackle the underlying causes of violent crime."