Published: Friday, 18th June 2021

Community policing and close partnership work is continuing to have a positive impact in Gillingham.

Vulnerable people have been safeguarded, and neighbourhood pride bolstered, thanks to work carried out by the Medway Task Force - a team which brings us together with Kent Police and other key partners, including Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

As part of the team’s initiatives, more than 1,000 crime prevention products have been handed to residents.

Policing in the community

One particular area of focus has been targeted crime prevention work in the area surrounding the High Street.

This work commenced in October 2020, following the receipt of Home Office ‘Safer Streets’ funding which was secured after a bid by the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott.

Since then, Kent Police officers have visited over 1,300 homes to offer crime prevention advice, with more than 1,000 security products handed out to residents. These products have included property marking kits, door chains and shed alarms.

A CCTV camera has also been placed in James Street, in addition to around 20 property marking signs which have been attached to lampposts. These are similar to Neighbourhood Watch signs and warn would-be thieves that they are entering an area with heightened crime prevention measures.

Increased community pride

Over the same time period, we have removed more than 45 tonnes of waste – a significant proportion of which had been fly-tipped.

We also regularly patrol the area to remove litter and provide advice on how to dispose of waste, 66% of households now recycle. Where necessary, enforcement action has also been taken.

Additional work

The Task Force brings together several other agencies outside of the council and Kent Police.

Among them are Kent Fire and Rescue Service, whose crews have carried out safety checks at numerous homes.

Around 1,300 school children in year six also participated in a series of virtual sessions as part of the Safety in Action initiative. These focused on internet, fire, water and road safety and, in addition to the agencies already mentioned, was supported by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Her Majesty’s Coastguard and Crimestoppers.

Positive changes in a short amount of time

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: ‘We want all residents across Medway to love the area they live in and to help keep their homes and communities feel safe. I am pleased with the work we have been doing in partnership with the Medway Task Force since last October, it’s been a very successful project and it has been pleasing to see such positive changes in a short amount of time. We will continue to work with partner agencies to ensure that residents love where they live.’

Meaningful results

Superintendent Rob Marsh, Kent Police’s Deputy Divisional Commander for North Kent, said: ‘The Medway Task Force launched in February 2020 with the overarching aim of preventing crime and protecting the most vulnerable people in our area. Grassroots community engagement has always been the foundation of what we do and it is something we take exceptional pride in. It is about more than just targeting criminals and locking them up – preventing crime and empowering residents is also vitally important. It is therefore really pleasing to hear of the excellent contributions our officers have made, and it is clear to see that our multi agency partnership approach is achieving meaningful results that I am sure will be long lasting. Moving ahead, I am confident this team will build on their early successes and bring about long term change for the people who need it most.’

Huge impact

Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said: ‘This sort of project has a huge impact on people’s lives and I’m delighted it’s been such a success. It’s been a partnership programme and I want to thank everyone who has worked on it and made such a difference. We have two further similar schemes planned for parts of Ramsgate and Canterbury and I’m hopeful they will see similar benefits.’

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