Since 2007, violent crime in Kent has increased dramatically according to police figures.
Between 2016 and 2017, overall crime increased by a round 90,000 offences in Kent. Violent crime seemed too had followed the trend as well with 16508 cases of violence with injury, and 27728 cases without injury.
While speaking to Kevin, 34 years old from Gillingham in Kent, he stated “I used to work in a little Co-op in Gillingham, quite a few time people would come in and try and still alcohol, and if you tried to take it off them they would often threaten you”. He continued by saying “I used to have to keep a golf club behind the till because previous staff had been assaulted; it’s the main reasons I quit retail”.
Unfortunately it’s not just in Kent where violent crime has increased, but all across England and Wales. According to Office of National Statistics (ONS) there had been a 24% increase in all kinds’ of violent crimes in 2016. These statistics included a 20% increase in homicide as well as a 7% increase in knife and 9% increase of fire arms related crimes.
All though there is no clear explanation to the national crime increase as well as the sudden increase in violence in Kent, one cause can be linked to the number of police officer in employment. In 2010, the Home Secretary cut the police budget by 18% meaning a drop in the number of officer policing on the street. Between 2009 and 2016 the number of police in England and Wales dropped by 21,494.
Kent Police Chairman Ian
stated in an interview with the BBC in 2011 “This is about a reduction in service. This is about a reduction in the number of police officers. This is potentially about a rise in crime.” In 2011 the Kent Police budget was reduced by 20%, since crime has steadily increased in Kent the police are getting put under increasing pressure.
An increase in gang crime in Kent has also attributed to the increase in violent crime in the region. Kent Police Commissioner Matthew Scott has previous said in an interview with the Kent Messenger in 2017, that the county has seen an increase in gang related violent crime, “where gangs are running their operations out into the county as far down as Thanet but also much closer to the London border.” According to Scott, due to gang influence there has been a change in the nature of the violent crimes committed.
As of 2018 Kent Police has created a six step plan of action to combat all crime and to prevent further increase. These steps are putting the victim of crime first, to fight anti-social behavior, to tackle violence, exploitation and all kinds of abuse, to combat organised crime including gang crime and providing adequate policing and efficient service.