Police Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott thinks Kent faces a challenge with violent gangs coming form London.
Gang crime, particularly knife crime and gangs in London, has become a worrying problem for residents and Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Speaking exclusively to The Canterbury Hub, Mr Scott said: “What we have to deal with is the challenge of gangs and organised groups coming out of London who are being more violent, who are being more vicious and encouraging young people to get caught up in these issues.”
The commissioner maintains that Kent is a ‘safe place’ to live and doesn’t have a particular problem with violent crime, ‘like they do on the streets of London’.
How is Kent Police combating these London gangs?
The Kent Police Crime Commissioner was adamant that being ‘proactive’ was the only way to combat these gangs coming into Kent.
He said: “We have some good partnerships with ‘British Transport Police’, with Kent County Council and with other organisations to identify who these individuals might be.
“They do targeted operations on a regular basis in order to bring this people to justice. We’ve had scores of arrest this year already for people who might have been carrying weapons, who might have been carrying drugs with intent to supply.
“It’s been a success but we have got a long way to go and we need to make sure we’re being very proactive.”
What can be done to make Kent safer?
Matthew Scott thinks that increasing the number of officers on the street is the only way forward.
He said: “Kent Police response and the Kent PCC response has been more officers, in London that’s not quite the case.
“There were 1200 fewer officers in London as of March last year, that’s something that needs to be addressed. In Kent by March next year there will be 270 more police officers. I believe that police numbers are important.
“We’ve got Kent, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Surrey and Sussex all looking at increasing their policing numbers this year. And I hope the same will come out of London.”
A spokesperson for the Kent PCC later revised the numbers of officers in London, stating there was 911 fewer officers.