Community Safety Strategy

Last updated on: 22-Jun-2021

1. Foreword

As the Chair of Gravesham’s Community Safety Partnership, I am very pleased to introduce this Community Safety Strategy 2021-24 on behalf of both all the Partnership’s statutory partners and the range of other agencies and organisations who work collaboratively to make Gravesham a safer place.

This Strategy carries particular importance for us as it is the first created by our new Partnership, established in October 2020 and that is dedicated to our Borough. This approach will enable us to better understand those issues that are impacting quality of life in our neighbourhoods and to drive forward our co-ordinated activity on tackling priorities at a much more local level. Having our own Partnership means that we will be able to ensure that time and effort is spent on reducing the types of crime and disorder that are most important to local people and the communities we serve.

Although we have already achieved much through partnership working, we know that we still face challenges in Gravesham. We know that alongside prosperous areas of the Borough there are pockets of deprivation in which families suffer crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) disproportionately. We also know that there are additional risks faced by vulnerable people to whom we have a duty of care in safeguarding them against the activity of perpetrators who seek to take advantage. Whilst our Borough’s geographical position and its proximity and ease of access to London is a positive feature, it also means that we are seen as an attractive location for cross-border criminals who will travel to commit crime locally. These are all factors that we have taken into account in producing this new Strategy. In reviewing the impact of earlier work, we have considered the different responses that we may want to adopt moving forwards and how we can develop locally focused solutions that will lead to improvements that will be sustainable in the longer term.

Our aim is to ensure that Gravesham is a safe place for everyone who lives, works in or visits our Borough. This Strategy is a recognition of the fact that we need to work together to achieve this ambition – we all have a part to play and a contribution to make. This includes local people taking an interest in their neighbourhood and exercising their responsibilities as citizens – this can be as simple as reporting community safety issues when they emerge, putting forward suggestions about how things could be improved or working with friends and neighbours to help us create the kind of areas in which people will want to live and raise their families.

Careful analysis of recorded crime and ASB data has been carried out in identifying the priorities contained in this Strategy but in Gravesham we do also take pride in our approach to community engagement and making decisions not just on behalf of but together with our local residents. A Community Safety Public Consultation has taken place during February 2021 to give people, whatever their age, background and connection with Gravesham, an opportunity to tell us about their experiences of crime and ASB and what they feel the issues are that we need to tackle first. The findings of the Consultation are summarised in the Strategy itself and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has given their time to provide their views so that whilst this Strategy is one that the Partnership has a duty to deliver it is one that belongs to local people and that is about also responding to publicly identified priorities.

Our new three year plan sets our Partnership a tough and challenging programme of work but we feel that it provides us with a firm grounding upon which we can make some positive changes. The nature of the crime and disorder issues that we and the country face now are very different to those that we faced just a few years ago. In the last 12 months we have also had to build into the equation the impact that Covid-19 has had on criminal behaviour and ASB – something that none of us could have foreseen. Whilst hopefully the pandemic will be under control before too long, we still need to be mindful of how it has influenced offending behaviour and new tactics that have been employed, particularly against the most vulnerable in our society. Whether or not Covid-19 has longer term implications for community safety is something that we will need to monitor.

I hope that this Strategy reassures you of the firm commitment that all our Partnership members share in supporting and protecting local people so that our Borough is a safer place for everyone. We often cite that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths; by working together across all of our different communities and combining that effort with the support of our wide range of partner agencies we can create a safer Gravesham and indeed, a Gravesham to be proud of.

Councillor Shane Mochrie-Cox
Chair, Gravesham Community Safety Partnership
Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure, Gravesham Borough Council

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