In October, I will be launching a new Restorative Justice (RJ) service for the county.
Restorative Solutions CIC have been contracted to provide the service. I believe that RJ can be an important part of the justice process if used for the right cases. It means victims can hold offenders to account and ensure that they know what impact the crime had on them. Importantly, this process will be victim-led and taking part will have no impact on the offender’s custodial sentence.
A joint bid by Kent County Council and my office has been successful in securing more than £300,000 of funding from the Government for the provision of extra domestic abuse services. In the coming months, my office will be working with local hospitals to embed Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs) in maternity and accident and emergency departments in order to try and encourage more victims to come forward and provide those victims with more support. Evidence from similar projects elsewhere has shown that there is a higher proportion of referrals via this route than by other means, which is good news for protecting vulnerable people.
As part of my efforts to see more frontline policing myself, I have been visiting teams across the county. This has included a Saturday night shift in Maidstone, a morning with the Commercial Vehicle Unit and an afternoon listening to 999 and 101 calls. This has proven invaluable to me – not just from the point of view of understanding what you all face, but in making the case to Government in terms of the demand that policing is experiencing. I will be doing more of these, and you will be able to follow my travels on Twitter using the hashtag #KentPolLive.
I recently spoke to BBC Radio Kent about the use of Taser by police forces, after a Royal College suggested these devices should not be used on children. I disagree – I believe that Taser is an important option that should be available to officers to protect themselves and the public.
Finally, a reminder that the Communities Together Fund is currently open to bids from local community groups. They can ask for up to £750 for events, training or equipment that will help bring the community together. It has been funded by the sale of criminal assets and, so far, has supported events in Bridge, Northfleet and Swanley and enabled equipment to be purchased for charities in Medway, Maidstone and Hollingbourne. You can find out more at www.kent-pcc.gov.uk/funds