Kent Police police are failing to meet required standards at investigating crime, according to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) that raises questions over whether policing in the County is fit for purpose.
In 2021/22 Kent Police budget was £351.7 million and some of this money was being spent on a public service that appears to be performing well, but also underperforming.
In terms of responding to the public, one was classed as outstanding, four were judged good, one as adequate and three as requiring improvement, according to HMIC’s 2021-22 report.
At the end of the financial year there were 3,950 officers for the County of Kent. By the end of year 2022/23 (March 31 2023) this is set to grow to 4,145 officers.
However, as has been reported elsewhere, the number of PCSOs across the county will be slashed by half while civilian staff face losing their jobs in a huge shake-up at Kent Police, to save £7m.
All recorded crime across the County has experienced an increase of 9.4%, with 15,470 more offences over the last 12 months (2021/22).
Areas which have seen an increase in crime during 2021/22 are as follows
Violence with injury is up 12.4%
Sexual offences are up 22.5%
Burglary business and Community is up 7.5%
Theft & handling offences are up 15.9%
Public order is up 8.4%
Hate Crime is up 25.8%
In the last 12 months (2012/22) there have been 12,145 stop searches across the county.
The HIMC report makes it clear The force’s service to victims of crime and the way it responds to calls from the public requires improvement. It states:
Kent Police is missing opportunities to protect vulnerable and repeat victims of crime. It needs to improve the way it manages initial calls, so that all vulnerable people are identified. The force is often failing to complete assessments of victims’ needs or properly record the reasons why a victim doesn’t support an investigation. Staff taking calls often fail to provide advice on crime prevention or preserving evidence before the
arrival of police officers. Officers’ attendance is also sometimes delayed.
The force, the HMIC report states, needs to improve the way it investigates crime
The force must ensure that crimes are allocated promptly to officers who have both the capacity and capability to investigate them properly. Opportunities to achieve positive results for victims are being missed because investigations are poor, or because officers haven’t collected evidence, or persevered in all cases where the victim no longer wishes to pursue a prosecution. This lets victims down.
The report goes onto say:
However, we found some incorrect decisions where a crime wasn’t subject to further investigation, one relating to a repeat vulnerable victim and others where there was potentially CCTV evidence.
We also found delays in applying both EBIT and other quality assurances processes, slowing down the allocation of crimes to an officer. Such delays reduce the opportunity to recover further evidence, such as CCTV.
In Kent Police’s audited statement of accounts 2021/22, it states:
Domestic Abuse experienced a -1.1% decrease, with 442 less offences. In the last 12 months, the force has arrested / interviewed 14,055 suspects, and charged 2,024 offenders.
However in stark contrast to the audited statement of accounts, the HIMC report makes it clear Kent Police’s response to domestic abuse is of particular concern and states:
The force is rightly proud of some of its work protecting vulnerable people. However, domestic abuse investigation teams aren’t properly resourced with qualified staff. Some victims have received an unacceptable level of service and have continued to remain at risk. Investigations are often delayed or are of a poor quality. This has caused victims to disengage with the force and abusers to escape justice. Alternatives to prosecution, such as prevention orders, aren’t sufficiently used.
However, the report by HMIC on Kent Police in 2021/22, is not all bad news, as it states
The force is outstanding at recording crime
The force is good at treating people fairly and with respect
The force is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour
The force promotes an ethical and inclusive culture and generally supports its workforce
The force is good at achieving savings and improving productivity
We are certain it is Kent Police’s ambition to do better, given there budget has increased from £351m in 2021/22 to £435m in 2022/23, up by 24%. We hope that with this extra money their abilities to increase the investigations of crime will improve.
The Shepway Vox Team
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