Sunday, 6 November 2011
Policing East Kent
One evening last weekend, I joined Kent's police force out on the beat around Cliftonville. I watched them at work throughout our community and saw the challenges they encounter. This was better than any briefing paper I could ever have read and provided an invaluable opportunity to see front-line staff at work.
Front-line policing plays a hugely important role in preventing and reducing crime on our streets. Their visible, uniformed presence not only serves as a deterrent but should reassure residents that Thanet’s police are doing more than ever before. Whilst some councillors in recent weeks have suggested vigilante actions are needed to bring crime down, we should never underestimate the extent to which Thanet’s police force are tapped into the complex goings on – both on the street and behind closed doors – in the area. Seeing first-hand the close relationships officers have evidently built up over the years within the community and how valuable this can be in fighting crime and anti-social behaviour was impressive. We stopped a young man for the suspected theft– the officers knew his name, age and address and were able to piece together details through their intellig! ence and experience around Clifonville.
Of course, Thanet - like any area - has its problems. But locally we have a police force that exudes professionalism and commitment to make our streets safer. We also have a Government that is tougher on crime and tougher on offenders.
The Labour government saw 80% of knife criminals avoiding jail, a vicious cycle of re-offending and an emphasis on our police bureaucratically form-filling rather than patrolling. Under new proposals, common sense will be restored to the sentencing of criminals: the most dangerous offenders will receive life sentences and knife-wielding youths will face prison. The new ‘two strikes’ and you’re out policy will see mandatory life sentences being given to anyone convicted of a second serious sexual or violent crime.
Most importantly for us locally, Police changes coming into force across the county will see Thanet gettingsignificantly more front line staff, not less. Divertingpolicing resources to those areas where the threat of crime is higher will greatly benefit Thanet.