Efforts to tackle crime, reduce violence and enhance safeguarding for vulnerable people are being boosted by the creation of a new Maidstone Task Force.
Strengthening local communities and keeping people safe will be at the heart of the work carried out by the multi-agency team, comprised of Kent Police, Maidstone Borough Council, and other partners including Trading Standards, housing associations and voluntary organisations.
Concerns and priorities
The task force officially launched on Friday 16 October 2020 and will be focused around tackling key issues including knife crime, drugs supply and anti-social behaviour.
Working together more closely will make it easier for police and other stakeholders in Maidstone to share information and solve problems.
It will also help in identifying causes of crime more accurately, as well as highlight other concerns and priorities raised by communities.
Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: ‘One of the main objectives of the Maidstone Task Force will be to proactively target criminals who seek to exploit the vulnerable, such as rogue traders, fraudsters and burglars.
'By regularly engaging with residents, schools, businesses and local community groups the task force will also support the work we already do in bringing to justice violent offenders, drug dealers and those who think nothing of targeting the elderly or exploiting young and vulnerable people for their own financial gain.
‘We know from other task forces, which have previously been created in Thanet and Medway, that by working together with our partners under one roof we can be more effective, responsive and ultimately improve people’s lives.
'Pursuing a more joined-up approach enables us to provide shared solutions to shared problems. It will also allow us to clamp down harder on problems such as anti-social behaviour and illegal fly-tipping, issues which cause considerable harm and distress in our communities.’
Making a real difference
Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said: ‘Bringing partners together to solve problems and tackle anti-social behaviour means we can make a real difference to local people’s lives. We know the approach works from what has been achieved in Thanet and Medway.
'I am delighted that Maidstone is now going to benefit from its own dedicated task force, staffed with police officers funded by my decision to raise the council tax earlier this year. These officers are on top of Maidstone’s extra town centre PCs who were funded by last year’s precept.’
While 16 October is the official launch date, the task force has been in operation for a number of weeks, with teams working together from the borough council premises in King Street.
Martyn Jeynes, Community Protection Manager at Maidstone Borough Council added: ‘We put partnership at the heart of everything we do, and it’s working! We want to ensure Maidstone is a place where people feel safe and are safe.
'We are really looking forward to working with local communities to help understand their concerns and to utilise the strengths from within those communities and with the combined strengths of the task force, bring about sustainable positive changes.’