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Table of Contents

The Aim of this Strategic Assessment. 2

The Background of Strategic Assessments. 2

Methodology. 2

Executive Summary. 3

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. 4

Priorities for the Safer Maidstone Partnership for 2021-2022. 5

Delivery of the Priorities. 5

Regulatory response to the pandemic. 30

The Maidstone Task force. 31

Community Protection Team Activity. 34

Other Relevant Data. 37

Key Conclusions and Recommended Changes to the Community Safety Partnership Plan. 39

Appendix 1. 43

Appendix 2. 44

Appendix 3. 44












The Aim of this Strategic Assessment

This is the Strategic Assessment produced for Safer Maidstone Partnership (SMP) for the period 2020-21 and informs  the priorities and planned activities for the 2021-22 Partnership Plan.

The purpose of this Strategic Assessment is to provide knowledge and understanding of community safety problems to the members of the SMP. This is achieved  through intelligence analysis and  identifies  emerging priorities by considering the patterns, trends and shifts relating to crime,  and substance misuse. Additionally, the Strategic Assessment  includes a performance assessment of how far the partnership has achieved its previous priorities.

The Background of Strategic Assessments

In 2006, a review of the partnership provisions of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and the Police Reform Act 2002, led to a series of recommendations to strengthen and extend existing requirements further, through the experience gained from partnership working. This resulted in a new set of national minimum standards which came into force in August 2007.

The 1998 Act included the requirement to undertake  a detailed crime and disorder audit, through consultation with key agencies and the wider community with the findings  used  to identify strategic priorities and set targets and performance measures. The new national standards placed a legal obligation on responsible authorities to comply with the specified requirements, one of which was the creation of a strategic assessment in place of the previous 3 yearly audit.


Data for this year’s Strategic Assessment has been sourced by the Kent Community Safety Unit from a variety of statutory partners including Police, Health, Probation and KCC Services. They are available in the partnership data sets section on the Kent Safer Communities portal. Several different data display tools have been included in this year’s assessment for the purpose of putting the context of crime data into more perspective, over a longer period.

Maidstone Borough Council and other authorities in Kent have again incorporated the MoRiLE (Management of Risk in Law Enforcement) scoring matrix methodology of ranking offences based on threat, risk and harm within this year’s Strategic Assessment (see Appendix 1).


Executive Summary

2020 was a year that no one will forget.  A year that started with concerns about the impact of a “no deal” Brexit was quickly engulfed in the national response to a global pandemic.  The strong foundations which the Safer Maidstone Partnership (SMP) is built on were tested like never before. 

Plans, services, teams and individuals adapted to new ways of working as “working from home” became the new normal.  The strong interpersonal and professional relationships at the heart of the SMP demonstrated our agility and adaptability to ensure that any disruption of services that keep Maidstone borough a safe place to live, work, visit and learn, were kept to a minimum. 

Despite the challenges everyone faced, the SMP continued to grow; it managed to launch a new multi-agency Task Force which would introduce a public health type of approach to disproportionate levels of crime, deprivation, and health inequality within a focus area of Maidstone – currently Shepway. 

Virtual meetings allowed more partners to attend more easily and removed the need to travel. From those connections came new initiatives and collaborations that may not have happened without the pandemic. 

Continuing to use our outcome-based approach, the SMP developed an understanding of joint problem-solving models, such as OSARA which is a five-stage process consisting of: 

-            Objective

-            Scanning

-            Analysis

-            Response

-            Assessment


We also adopted Contextual Safeguarding and continued to deliver work together with our partners and communities protecting and saving lives. 

There is no doubt that the pandemic has impacted on crime and disorder in the borough and this is reflected in the data collated for this report which shows significant variations from previous years.  Restrictions and lockdowns changed the way people behaved and how we interacted.  Whilst some types of crime showed a decline in incidents, others saw significant increases.  These were often fuelled by fear and occasionally were because people’s activities and movement were restricted. 

Some new areas of concern emerged, such as risk-taking behaviour in young people which could escalate when they were in larger peer groups driven by the absences of natural diversions, such as cinemas, sports clubs etc.  Also, we saw the emergence of “puppy-farms” which grew to meet the demand of more people who were now able to work from home. 

As unprecedented as the last year has been, the priorities set out in 2019-2022 Community Safety Partnership Plan remain unchanged for 2021/22.

Our priorities for 2021/22 are :

·      Protecting our communities against serious, violent and organised crime (including modern-day slavery)

·      Keeping children and young people safe

·      Reducing the harm caused by domestic abuse (including stalking)

·      Reducing the impact of substance misuse on our community

·      Safeguarding people whose mental health makes them vulnerable to becoming a victim or where it leads to an impact on the wider community

Each of these priority areas have been impacted by the pandemic and will remain key areas of focus for the partnership as we move into the recovery phase.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a considerable and unprecedented impact on the lives of everyone in the UK, including those in Maidstone borough.

At the time of this report, latest data shows that over 400 people in lost their lives as a result of COVID-19.

The virus and measures to control rates of infection (such as the national lockdowns, systems to limit social contact, and the temporary closure of education settings) have had a significant impact on many, directly affecting individuals’ physical health, mental health and well-being, education, and employment.

A Residents’ Covid survey was open between 31st July and 2nd October 2020, and 1453 residents responded. Survey respondents were asked about the impact of the pandemic on their mental health and around 50% responded that they have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. They were also asked to select their top 3 concerns and around 14% selected mental health as one of their top three concerns. 

The pandemic has also had a significant impact on how front-line services have operated including protective measures for front line staff through use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and limiting non-essential face to face contact with the public and service users, and with other professionals. The combined impact of reduced contact with the public, significant limitations on travel and social contact, and closure and strict restrictions in public  and recreational spaces, is that almost all services have seen unprecedented shifts in demand. As a result, in approaching this year’s report we must consider that data for the year is highly irregular, and that observations and analysis should be considered in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on ‘normal’ day-to-day life.

Rather than focus on Covid-19 within this assessment as a single specific priority or risk to community safety, the impact of the pandemic has been considered and discussed as a factor in each individual priority theme, wherever it is relevant.

Priorities for the Safer Maidstone Partnership for 2021-2022

The information collated for this year’s Strategic Assessment, detailed within this document, identifies that the five priority areas identified in the Maidstone Community Safety Partnership Plan 2019-2022 should remain as: 

·         Protecting our communities against serious and organised crime (including modern-day slavery)

·         Keeping children and young people safe

·         Reducing the harm caused by domestic abuse (including stalking)

·         Reducing the impact of substance misuse on our community

·         Safeguarding people whose mental health makes them vulnerable to becoming a victim or where it leads to an impact on the wider community

These priorities are echoed across the SMP with multi-agency working remaining pivotal, especially as each of these areas has and will likely continue to be affected by the pandemic.  National lockdowns created challenges when it comes to engagement across public, private and voluntary sectors, but as we embraced a new virtual approach to working our collaborations grew.    Our sub-groups and working groups have never been stronger or more diverse in their attendance.  As lockdown restrictions are eased, these galvanised partnerships will be critical to help the borough recover.

ASB, prevention against radicalisation and reducing reoffending, remain intrinsic elements of the work undertaken across the five main priorities. 

Delivery of the Priorities

Strategic subgroups, operational groups and specialist teams work collectively to develop, co-ordinate and deliver activities which were developed primarily to help launch the Community Safety Plan and lay down the foundations for the next year before the Community Safety Plan is refreshed.  For each priority, the partnership has:

·         Produced an action plan containing measurable activities and indicators

·         Ensured that there are resources available to deliver these plans

·         Submitted funding applications to obtain additional resources where required

Details of what has been delivered to date in each area is summarised in the tables that follow.  As these are active action plans, designed to evolve over the life of the current Community Safety Plan, some of the actions  are ongoing and new actions will be added in the coming months, specifically as a result of the data provided within this report to members of the SMP.



Description automatically generated

HandcuffsProtecting our communities against serious and organised crime (including modern-day slavery)-Delivered through the Serious & Organised Crime Panel

Organised Crime is defined as planned and co-ordinated criminal behaviour and conduct by people working together on a continuing basis. Their motivation is often, but not always, financial gain. Organised crime in this and other countries recognises neither national borders nor national interests.

Actions currently identified or delivered



Introduce a scheme to promote safer socialising in the borough to prevent / reduce violent crime in the Night Time Economy (NTE). 


The safer socialising scheme has been postponed due to the impact of Covid-19 on the NTE. Some initiatives have been introduced/refined to support a Safe NTE during the social distancing restrictions and as lockdown measures are eased.  These include:

·      Police Vulnerability Investigation Teams patrolling the NTE (Op Whitney) to support those who appear vulnerable and engagement with local hotels and taxi companies. This will be re-introduced when restrictions are lifted. ‘Ask for Ani/Ask for Angela’ campaigns also supported through social media channels.

·      Multi-agency working group set up to look at “designing out” crime in Brenchley Gardens which proposes to look at changes in park design, lay out and use, to assist in the reducing ASB, knife crime and public disorder in the evenings.

·      Knife Crime Intensification week (Op SEPTRE) included a focus on the Town Centre.  The aim was to reduce the fear and use of knives.   

·      NTE forum continued throughout the lockdown period to support NTE premises managers, security teams, Maidstone BID and charity groups such as Urban Blue and Street pastors to support safer socialising.

·      Pilot undertaken to provide cost-effective active monitoring of CCTV in partnership with the Maidstone BID. Long-term arrangement is now being developed.

Disruption of criminal enterprises and Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) including puppy farms, county line gangs and brothels with

in the district


During 2020 Maidstone closed the active OCG identified in last year’s Strategic Assessment and until recently there had been no active “locally owned” OCGs for several months.  An OCG has recently been identified relating to drugs/money laundering linked to sites in and around the town centre.  A 4P plan has now been raised and a partnership investigation has commenced with uniformed/plain clothed officers actively engaging the group.  This is still at an early stage but will feature heavily in the coming months.


The council CPT successfully disrupted an alleged illegal puppy breeding operation believed to have a network that expands across Kent.  Further “puppy farms” have been targeted by multi-agency raids as the pandemic has driven up the popularity of puppies and the associated market. 


Several county lines into Maidstone have been successfully disrupted throughout the year by the police RAPTOR team, with it being reported that Maidstone is “too difficult” for gangs to establish new lines.  Work continues to shut down new lines identified through intelligence networks. 


Kent police are actively disrupting identified brothels in the district. During February 2021, an intelligence led operation alongside the Serious Crime Directorate saw multiple search warrants executed, 12 arrests, 3 people were charged with 9 bailed pending further investigation. £42,000 cash and multiple phones/devices were also seized.



Increase intelligence reporting by holding a training session with KCC and Kent Police Intel teams to ensure information is shared appropriately.


Training session held periodically with partners within the Serious Organised Crime Panel (SOCP) meetings over the course of the term. Partners were reminded of this intelligence gathering process recently.

Deliver a series of events to raise awareness of the risks and dangers of Illegal Money Lending and support services


Awareness raising training is being developed with the England Illegal Money Lending Team for delivery to core MBC services, including Housing, Revenues and Benefits and Debt Recovery.  The training, which is being developed for roll out before September 2021, will raise awareness on identifying and supporting the victims of loan sharking.  A community awareness event is also planned for Shepway, delivered through the Maidstone Task Force, once social distancing measures are lifted.

Support KCCs Doorstep Crime initiative to help safeguard the vulnerable from opportunist serial offenders


Concept has been developed by KCC Trading standards, consisting of 4 options.  KCC are currently consulting CSPs across Kent to determine commitment to no-cost or costed options.  MBC have opted for a low-cost option, subject to obtaining relevant funding grant.

Deliver training to key partners and officers in relation to the use of specific problem-solving tools:


•   Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014


Specific training sessions provided to multi-agency audiences.  The OSARA problem solving model is now an integral part of the multi-agency approach taken to address both existing and new crime and ASB trends.

A recent training session on Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, built on the session provided to the partnership in February 2020.  The session which considers the practical and tactical use of the powers will see increased use across the partnership, as already seen in the Warnings and Notices (CPW/CPN) figures provided in this assessment.  It will also see the introduction of a pilot to empower Golding Homes staff to issue CPWs/CPNs on behalf of the local authority when tackling ASB and nuisance within their housing stock. 

Keeping children and young people safeJail- Delivered through the District Contextual Safeguarding Meeting

Young people are often affected by issues across our priority themes, affecting them more deeply, causing longer term issues than in adults.  We work collectively to safeguard our young people from those that cause them harm.




Introduce District Contextual Safeguarding Meetings for Maidstone.


The DCSM was introduced in July 2020.  The meeting sees a range of professionals from across the SMP, working collaboratively to identify individuals and locations of concern.  Intensified support is put in place for individuals and location assessments identify opportunities to provide contextual safeguarding that assesses the risks and opportunities to mitigate them in an area

Introduce a scheme to support Young People who are relocated to Maidstone by other local authorities to minimise the risk of ASB [Revised target date of April to June 2021]


Introducing “My Place”, an initiative to support young victims of crime moving to Maidstone, had been delayed due to the pandemic.  The number of young people, that would have been suitable, moving to the area has reduced due to the pandemic, with older residents being prioritised through “Everybody In” and other housing prioritisation requirements.  Work is in progress to ensure the initiative is in place to coincide with the lifting of restrictions. 

Undertake a youth safety survey that will improve understanding of young people’s fears, particularly around carrying knives [Revised target date of results by June 2021]


The youth survey was due to launch in April 2020 but was significantly impacted by the pandemic and the early closure of schools.  The launch was postponed, and the survey finally started in January 2021 and ran until the beginning of May. Approximately 1500 responses have been collected. An analysis report will be drafted by the end of June 2021.

Undertake a review of Brenchley Gardens to identify opportunities to safeguard young people. 



Undertake a review of Brenchley Gardens to identify opportunities to safeguard young people.  (cont’d)


A working group has been set up to look at the issues of concern in the park that have existed for many years. A designing out crime survey has been undertaken that has identified several strands that may be implemented, which could include:


·         modifications to the bandstand to reduce its attraction for people to sit on it

·         Closing some of the entrances to the park after darkness

·         Proactive monitoring and engagement with park users

·         Positive use of the park


Options around these areas are being considered with the view to taking a report to Committee in September 2021 to consider implementing the proposed changes.


Undertake assertive outreach work to safeguard young people in areas where CSE and gang activities are believed to be taking place


The pandemic significantly restricted the delivery of outreach with professionals not being able to go out and engage with young people.  It has now been agreed that outreach can now be delivered to locations identified to the DCSM as a concern. 

Increase support for depression, self-harm and suicide awareness in young people (schools, GPs etc.) to address their vulnerability (From Mental Health Plan)


Adverse Childhood Experiences and trauma informed practices remain at the foundation of the work the SMP undertakes and delivers.  This included specific ACE awareness in training provided by the Kent Violence Reduction Unit.  Work will continue with KCC Social Services and Early Help to ensure safeguarding and awareness is put in place around mental health in young people, particularly as a result of the impact of the pandemic. 








Youth Justice

Age of Offenders


Age 13-14


Age 15


Age 16


Age 17 +


Looking at the latest period, April 2019 to March 2020, youth offences have decreased from 110 to 87, a decrease of 23 (21%). However, there has been an increase in the number of individuals committing crime, from 35 to 39 (11%). The breakdown of these offenders’ age groups is shown in the table on the left.  


Around 0.2% of the youth population have been convicted of an offence. The table below shows that the total number of youth offences has continued to decrease of the last six years.



















Partnership approach to protecting young people 

The Covid-19 restrictions in March 2020 saw the closure of many activities which provide natural diversions.  Schools closed and later moved to virtual learning.  Sports clubs and leisure activities were suspended for large parts of the year.  For our young people, who are biologically programed to explore the freedoms that come with maturity and to engage in risk taking behaviour, the world became very small.  A generation, often referred to as “entitled” faced restrictions that no generation has faced since the world wars. Lockdown created unique challenges for some, such as access to IT equipment for online learning. Some taught their parents and grandparents how to socialize, virtually. 


Reported issues around increased risk-taking behaviour and young people gathering whilst exercising or visiting food outlets increased across the partnership. Community fears around lack of social distancing meant that some of the concerns were due merely to the presence of young people.  There was though evidence of increased risk taking, some of which escalated to anti-social behaviour and criminal acts.  This was often associated with tribal confidence, which occurs naturally as group sizes grow, and the absence of natural diversions which led to, on occasion, larger peer groups forming.   Reports were received, incorrectly pertaining to “gangs of youths”.  It remains imperative that when referring to ‘gangs’ that labels are not assigned without evidence, thought or research; to assume that a group of young people are a gang would not serve the priorities of the SMP and reduces the effectiveness of work on confirmed gang members. Hallsworth and Young (2006) defined the following:


•    Peer Group - A small, unorganised, transient grouping occupying the same space with a common history. Crime is not integral to their self-definition.

•    Street Group - A relatively durable, predominantly street-based group of young people who see themselves (and are seen by others) as a discernible group for whom crime and violence is integral to the group’s identity.

•    An Organised Criminal Network/Gang - A group of individuals for whom involvement in crime is for personal gain. The gain is mostly measured in financial terms. Crime is their ‘occupation’.

These definitions are important in order to focus resources and priorities where required. There are currently no identified youth gangs in Maidstone.  We do however have several Peer Groups who professionals are working with to minimise their risk taking and to improve their behaviour.

Lockdown restrictions on agencies created challenges for professionals.  It restricted their ability to engage and safeguard young people. Group work was not permitted and face to face work with individuals was limited to those most vulnerable.   When necessary, plans were put in place around certain individuals and their families to disrupt behaviour and to support parents and carers.  In some cases, for older young people, enforcement action was taken which included restrictions on who they could associate with and where they could go whilst exercising. Joint training with Kent Police and partners in February 2020 put in place improved processes and understanding, which led to an increased confidence in the use of enforcement tools. However, a High Court appeal decided in 2020 that a council had no power to issue a Community Protection Notice in the name of a parent concerning the conduct of their child, thus creating challenges around the use of powers to require parents and guardians to take responsibility for their children’s behaviour.   

Further work is needed in relation to using ASB powers with those under 16, due to their criminal status, but work is ongoing with the Youth Offender Team and KCC Early Help to implement alternatives, such as behaviour agreements and voluntary Buddi Tags, a new initiative where offenders voluntarily wear a GPS tag to encourage them to not to undertake anti-social or criminal behaviour.  The monthly District Contextual Safeguarding Meetings ensure that individuals and locations of concern are discussed, and that escalating behaviour is challenged.  The risk presented by County Lines Gangs, Gangs from other areas and Gang Culture remains a threat in Maidstone but these are proactively policed. The local RAPTOR team actively shuts down Gangs trying to establish themselves in Maidstone.  There are currently no “home-grown” gangs active in the borough. The addition of a safeguarding officer to the RAPTOR team, alongside the introduction of “Schools Officers” by Kent Police will provide even more opportunity to incorporate contextual safeguarding and the voice of the child into everyday police and partnership work.    

  Reducing the harm caused by domestic abuse (including stalking): Delivered through the Domestic Abuse Forum

Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a relationship. This can encompass but is not limited to physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or financial abuse.




Delivery of an awareness/ education session for Hairdressers including Mid Kent College and Saks Academy


Awareness sessions were delivered to 70 Maidstone based Hair and Beauty students through Saks. Due to the pandemic we were unable to deliver sessions to Mid Kent College, but discussions are ongoing with the college as social distancing restrictions are being eased.

Through temporal analysis of reported DA arrange for domestic abuse support workers to attend calls to domestic incidents with Kent Police officers over periods where reports of domestic abuse are highest.



Kent Police and KCC Early Help undertook joint visits to DA Victims in the lead up to Christmas 2020.  The patrols were very successful in providing direct support to victims and raising awareness within the police teams attending.  More joint visits are planned. A potential target is the upcoming European Football Championships, as evidence with respect to previous tournaments demonstrates increased risk that DA will increase because of the tournament.

Arrange and host a practitioner’s conference to increase networking, knowledge sharing and understanding of DA issues in Maidstone and the support available.


Initially planned for delivery in April 2020, the DA forum adapted their Cradle to Grave conference for online delivery.  The event, which drew upon the life experiences of a local DA victim, was attended by 157 online attendees.  Inputs were provided by 8 speakers representing 6 partners.  Owing to the success of this event a further online event is planned for May, as well as a face to face conference for Spring 2022. 

Develop a Domestic Abuse Champions Network to support the introduction of Rural DA Champions and build on the existing Urban DA Guardians


Conceptualised as Maidstone specific, supporting awareness raising in Rural communities, DA Champions is being adopted for delivery Kent wide with the Kent Integrated Domestic Abuse Service, for roll out on 2021/22.  A rolling programme of awareness raising and materials to support trained Champions to signpost victims into support services is being developed.  The initiative will be rolled out to professional champions from September 2021.  Civilian champions will follow. 

Incorporate DA into Safer Socialising initiative


As detailed above, Safer Socialising initiatives are on hold due to the pandemic’s impact on the NTE 

Listen to the voice of survivors.  Establish the means to capture the views of those who have been subject to domestic abuse to ensure that the services we are delivering provide the right support needed.


Clarion, Choices and other support services ensure that their survivors are surveyed at various stages of their journey to capture valuable feedback on their services and to ensure the voice of the survivor is captured and used to tailor the service provision. 

Deliver a Violence against Men initiative. 


An event in conjunction with Maidstone United football club was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic.  This will be revisited when fans can return to the stadium. 

Maidstone Taskforce Domestic Abuse Day of Action


Very successful day focussed on supporting victims/survivors in the Shepway area. Activities included joint visits to repeat victims to offer support and awareness raising and literature provision to residents and businesses.  The proactive visits undertaken in this period were deemed so successful that Kent Police are developing a pilot initiative to undertake regular visits, with DA specialists, to DA victims, particularly supporting those awaiting court hearings that have been delayed due to the pandemic. A further day of action is planned for 2021 when more face to face engagement is permitted. 

Delivery of Domestic Abuse Awareness Presentation for Council Members


Presentation delivered to approximately 20 council members with useful interactions and discussions around the impact of domestic abuse in the borough.  Feedback received was very positive.

Delivery of Domestic Abuse Awareness for Maidstone Borough Council employees


Presentations provided to over 70 colleagues within MBC as part of our Wellbeing Week.  Further sessions are now planned for teams who have expressed an interest in further training. 

Generate a DA Forum Flight Fund policy and application form


A new policy has been put in place to give agencies direct access to DA Forum Funds (generated by charity donations) to allow victims of DA to obtain essential items and to pay for travel expenses whilst fleeing an abusive relationship

Generate and publish Maidstone Borough Council at work domestic abuse policy


Maidstone CPT are currently working with MBC to adopt a DA policy to support staff and managers in supporting victims of domestic abuse in our workforce. An initial draft has been shared with the aim to adopt this in the coming months.

Domestic abuse is a cruel and complex crime that can affect anyone, leaving physical and emotional scars that can last a lifetime.  Domestic Abuse is defined as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

Psychological, Physical, Sexual, Financial, Emotional

Domestic abuse sits as a local, county and national priority which is supported through local mechanisms such as the Multi–Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) which provides support and protection to families and individuals in high-risk domestic abuse situations. The Independent Domestic Violence Advisor service (IDVA), commissioned by KCC, provides support and guidance to victims of DA. Each district also delivers a ‘one-stop shop’ where all victims of domestic abuse can receive advice and support.

Currently, 19% of all crime in Maidstone Borough is related to Domestic Abuse and this equates to 33% of all violent crime.

Recorded domestic abuse has gone up by 5.7% and this is mainly driven by ‘Violence Against the Person’ with an increase of 9.8% which accounts for 82% of all domestic abuse crimes. Sexual offences (-5.4%) and other domestic abuse crimes (-10.6%) have dropped.

Ward based analysis of the domestic abuse crimes (financial year to date) showed that the High Street Ward remained the ward with the highest amount recorded domestic abuse. The heat map below provides an indication of how domestic abuse crimes have changed during 2020. 

Owing to the lack of NTE, previously believed to be the primary source of domestic abuse in High Street ward, further work is now required interpret and respond to why this remains significantly higher than any other wards.  Park Wood, Shepway South, Bridge and Shepway North make up the remaining top 5. Over rural areas, there were notable increases in recorded domestic abuse in Sutton Valence & Langley, Marden & Yalding and Downswood and Otham.  Sutton Valence & Langley was the only rural ward to feature in the top 10 with day incidents increasing by 150%.

Domestic abuse is often a hidden crime that is not reported to the police. Therefore, data held by the police can only provide a partial picture of the actual level of domestic abuse experienced. Many cases will not enter the criminal justice process as they are not reported to the police.  The coronavirus lockdown restrictions, which came into effect from 23 March 2020, imposed strict limits on daily life. There was fear amongst SMP partners that these restrictions would limit access to services and support.  Support programs, which rely on group work became difficult to deliver.  The delivery of virtual support to victims itself presents significant challenges, particularly to victims with children or living with their abuser.

One-Stop Shops & Sanctuary

Domestic Abuse ‘One Stop Shops’ offer free advice, information and support from a range of agencies under one roof to help victims of domestic abuse. Whilst Maidstone’s one stop shop is ordinarily hosted at the Salvation Army in Union Street, the pandemic meant that it wasn’t possible to provide this face-to-face service.  Adaptation by the partnership has seen the creation of a virtual One Stop Shop, who are receiving calls and signposting victims to appropriate support, whether that is housing, legal matters, policing or specialist DA advice.

Sanctuary assessments are undertaken by the Community Protection team, usually on referral from MARAC or the IDVA service, where a victim of domestic abuse expresses a desire to stay in their family home, but requires assistance to do so. Where it is deemed proportionate to do so, officers attend the victim’s property and undertake an assessment.  The assessment determines what works need to be undertaken in order to safeguard the victim against their abuser.  This can include a variety of property alterations, including changing locks and installing PIR lights, which are undertaken by the handy man service provided in partnership with Involve Kent. 

Sanctuary referrals were of a similar number to the previous period, 33 and 32 respectively, although, as shown in the graph below, the 2020/21 referrals were reduced over the first lockdown, but increased after.


Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARACs)

MARACs are meetings where information about high-risk domestic abuse victims (those at risk of murder or serious harm) is shared between local agencies. By bringing all agencies together at a MARAC, a risk-focused, co-ordinated safety plan can be drawn together to support the victim. MARACs now cover all victims aged 16 years and over.

Maidstone has had 266 MARAC cases in  the period  Dec 2019 - Nov 2020. This compares to 194 cases the previous 12 months, an increase of 74 cases. Of the 266, 85 were repeat cases, this equates to 32% of all cases. There were 294 children living in these households. Under the new DA Bill, outlined below, all children in these circumstances are to be considered victims.  The voice of the child is considered in all MARAC cases.

The reason for the increase in cases coming to MARAC in 2020/21 is not yet clear.  Intensified Domestic Abuse in households forced into lock down as a direct result of the pandemic is likely to have contributed. In addition, it is felt that an increased awareness of coercion and control, particularly within the police following a training input, may also be a contributory factor.  The police are also currently piloting a new assessment tool as an alternative to the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and Honour-based violence risk identification, assessment and management model (DASH).  The trial of the Domestic Abuse Risk Assessment (DARA) is currently subject to a review as to whether it will be adopted formally.  

Domestic Abuse is everybody’s business

The Domestic Abuse Bill seeks to encourage good practice in preventing domestic abuse, identifying victims, survivors and perpetrators of domestic abuse, as well as children affected by domestic abuse and improving the protection and provision of support to people affected by domestic abuse.  New legislation will drive changes that will: 

·         promote awareness

·         protect and support victims

·         transform the justice response

·         improve performance of Domestic Abuse Services

Domestic Abuse remains a national priority, requiring everyone to play their role in breaking the silence of abuse.  The SMP, through the Domestic Abuse Forum, should remain focused on supporting victims, challenging perpetrators, creating survivors and raising awareness. The Domestic Abuse Bill introduces statutory obligations for the Kent and Medway domestic abuse and sexual violence executive (KMDASVG) and introduces the role of Domestic Abuse Commissioner, focused on quality of service and consistency over Kent and Medway. The DA Forum’s members will need to work together to respond to the legal changes around housing and refuge and additional support provided to victims.  We will also need to work with the county council when they undertake annual needs assessments.


Reduce the impact of substance misuse on our communityNeedle- delivered through Community Protection Team and Licensing

Substance abuse or misuse is formally defined as the continued misuse of any mind-altering substance that severely affects person's physical and mental health, social situation and responsibilities.




Develop a bottle watch programme that is deliverable where alcohol is sold or consumed by people at risk, such as vulnerable or young people 

On hold

On hold due to the pandemic. 

Investigate the use of powers against illegal sales of tobacco/alcohol to support Trading Standards


Discussions were held with KCC Trading Standards.  KCC opted to use their own powers to pursue businesses, but the use of the ASB closure powers has not been ruled out and will be considered when appropriate. 

Engage in pilot of a ‘Co-occurring Conditions’ Multi-Disciplinary Team for people who have Mental Health and Substance Misuse Issues from January 2021



MBC CPT and Housing staff are engaging in a pilot led by KCC and the NHS to look at an alternative approach to supporting people with complex needs due to co-occurring conditions, such as substance misuse and mental health concerns.  The objective is to create a skilled multi-disciplinary team (MDT) who will work holistically on complex cases to improve outcomes for the individuals in need.  The creation of the MDT is being developed by the CCG and we are awaiting details of the proposed roll out.

Deliver a drugs and substance misuse day of action with the Maidstone Task Force


A week-long targeted social media campaign supported by Crime Stoppers was delivered in the Shepway area, alongside a day of partnership action in the area.  An Ad van and leaflet drops to shops and youth hubs raised awareness in the community.  Increased police activity led to 2 arrests for drug related offences, 1 summons for possession of drugs.  17 stop searches were undertaken, and 16 intelligence reports were submitted.  Significant seizures were also undertaken, as well as support visits to a known user and a recent victim of drugs related crime in the area.  Data sourced from Maidstone A&E also identified that alcohol related admissions are particularly high from the Shepway Wards.  Discussions are ongoing with KCC Public Health with a view to delivering a partnership initiative in the Shepway Wards in the next 6-9 months.

Renewal of the Maidstone town centre PSPO and agreement with One Maidstone for delivery


Following a review, the PSPO was successfully renewed in October 2020 and will remain in place for the town centre for 3 years.  


 	21% Increase in Drug offences

Substance misuse relates to the use of drugs, alcohol and includes New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) previously known as ‘legal highs’.

Kent police recorded drug offences include both offences of drug supply and possession. Under this category of crime Maidstone has seen a 21% increase in drug offences in 2020 compared to 2019. This is an increase from 415 offences to 502 offences (87 more crimes this year). Overall, Kent saw an increase in drug offences of 28% (+994) from 3,552 to 4,546. Drug offences are primarily identified and detected through proactive policing.  The increase in recorded offences has been attributed to Maidstone Police’s successful use of stop search powers and the use of intelligence reports to build successful warrant packages that have enabled warrants to be obtained, resulting in more than £100,000 of money and illegal substances being seized.  Substance Misuse is also a consideration at the weekly partnership meeting known as the Community Safety Vulnerability Group (CSVG).  In this meeting, which looks at the most vulnerable people in the borough with their needs are impacting more than one agency, 37% of the cases closed had either a diagnosed or undiagnosed substance misuse concern.






Needle Finds

The following table shows the official annual figures for needle finds in the borough removed by the council’s waste management service for the period December 2017 to November 2020. These figures include the contents of external needle bins that are strategically placed in the town to try to reduce discarded needles. 2,511 needles were found/retrieved in the current period, which is a 55% increase from 1,621.  However, 1500 of these needles refer to two incidents where unused needles were found, bagged and sealed and tucked behind a parked vehicle wheel. There was no evidence as to who had placed them there or for what purpose. With this outlier removed from the data, the needle finds show a decrease of 37% which is more reflective of what was collected in other months.

Within the borough the top five locations for needle finds are as follows:

Dec-18 to Nov-19



River steps


Needle bins






Whatman Park


Dec-19 to Nov-20



Alexander Street


River Steps




Rose Garden


Wallis Avenue


This information is fed into local policing teams and partners so that plans can be built around supporting those likely to be responsible for the needles. 





Tackling supply and demand

The recorded increase in drug offences is in part due to proactive stance taken in Maidstone in undertaking stop searches in the district. It was reported via a Kent VRU monthly tactical report, by a known user and suspected supplier, that during 2020 Maidstone had become “too difficult” to establish strong drug supplies.  This was attributed to the proactive work of policing teams, such as RAPTOR, who disrupt County Line activity.  As detailed in the section below, substance misuse is a priority area of concern in the Shepway Wards. 

Extensive work has been undertaken in relation to the supply of illegal substances, but with Shepway South recording the highest number of alcohol related hospital admissions, the task force is now looking to engage with the local health provisions and support charities to develop a better understanding of the problem.  Links to financial worries are being addressed in partnership with officers from the Department of Works and Pensions who have become active members of the task force.  The creation of multi-agency teams to look at co-occurring conditions (typically mental health and substance misuse) it is hoped will provide a more joined up approach to supporting our most vulnerable, substance dependent, people. 

Safeguard people whose mental health makes them vulnerable to becoming a victim or where it leads to an impact on the wider community Brain

Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioural, and emotional wellbeing - it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. The term 'mental health' is sometimes used to mean an absence of a mental disorder.




Developing a leaflet to raise awareness of vulnerable people who self-neglect and how to refer them for support


Information/signposting leaflets have been disseminated to vulnerable individuals/families/carers during specialist PCSO home visits.

Arrange a self-neglect summit for 2020/21 that brings together different agencies and experts to raise awareness of self-neglect and hoarding

On hold

Postponed to 2021/22 due to pandemic

Identify funding opportunities to run a hoarding and self-neglect project

On hold

Due to COVID-19 restrictions this has been postponed.

Engage in pilot of a ‘Co-occurring Conditions’ Multi-Disciplinary Team for people who have Mental Health and Substance Misuse Issues from January 2021


As detailed under Substance Misuse.  In addition, work is being undertaken to work closely with specialist mental health nurse commissioned by the Homeless Outreach Team

Decrease in the use of Section 136

Under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act the police have the power to remove a person from a public place, when they appear to be suffering from a mental disorder, to a place of safety. It cannot be used to remove people from their own home, or someone else’s home.

Figures for Section 136 use in the borough (where an individual is sectioned for their own or others safety) have decreased, in 2020 it was used 115 times, as opposed to 143 in 2019 a 20% (-28) decrease.

Last year in Maidstone, mental health referrals into younger adult (18-64) services (including acute/community recovery services) saw a decrease of 2.5% to 1307 cases compared to 1341 the previous year. In older adults (65+) there was an increase of 5% to 893 cases compared to 851 the previous year.

Mental Health still matters

In 2020 approximately 71% of the cases at the weekly partnership meeting, the CSVG, related to people who had either a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health concern.

One of the largest concerns associated with the pandemic has been the impact of Mental Health. The Public Health England report, Covid-19 Mental Health and Wellbeing surveillance report, as updated in February 2021*, identified that mental health has been impacted by the national lockdowns.  Anxiety, depression, loneliness and poor life satisfaction were notably significantly higher, in relation to the 1st lockdown.  A survey undertaken by MBC in 2020, in relation to the first pandemic lockdown, showed that 52% of the 1245 respondents’ felt they had experienced at least a fairly negative impact on their mental health as a result of the pandemic.   The ongoing nature of the pandemic means that the full extent of the mental health impact has not yet been assessed.  It is also too early to determine whether suicide has increased as a result of the pandemic.  As indicated by the CSVG figures, Mental Health remains a factor in most cases brought to the CSVG.  It has also been a factor in complex ASB cases.  In one case, the mental health of both a mother and her young son reached crisis point with their behaviour, often as a result of interacting with each other, spilt out into the local community.  A history of domestic abuse, a brain injury and addiction all contributed to the mother making some poor decisions and did not allow her to control her son’s behaviour.  His behaviour led to criminal investigations and his mother’s behaviour put her home at risk due to a court injunction.   Intensive support work put around the family as a whole saw positive reductions in the ASB and whilst this case is very much a work in progress, the impact on the community reduced significantly and the son is engaging positively with his school and support services.

MBC’s Outreach Service, which was formed to deal with rough sleepers in the borough, provide intensive support to many people with complex needs.  Some clients also require support to address co-occurring conditions including mental health and substance misuse. In October 2020, the team, in partnership with four other Local Authorities and the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust welcomed the introduction of 3 mental health professionals who work across the 4 areas.  Since their introduction in Maidstone the they have engaged with 19 individuals, with 7 of them now on psychiatrist plans. This represents a significantly joined up approach to a shared problem. This was funded through a successful bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government initiated by MBC; however funding is time limited and discussions are now in progress with the CCG with the aim of putting this essential service on a sustainable footing.

Mental Health remains a priority theme that is intrinsically linked to the other 4 priority areas.  Whether it is the control and coercion used by a domestic abuse perpetrator or adverse childhood experiences stunting development in our young people, mental health remains at the heart of the SMP’s work.  

* COVID-19: mental health and wellbeing surveillance report - GOV.UK (

Other Police Data

Police Crime Data

Overall reported crimes in Maidstone borough dropped by 12% in 2020 compared with 2019, from a total of 17,260 crimes to 15,201 crimes. The graph here shows how crimes in the Borough have changed over the last six years.

The decrease in the number of crimes in 2020 is in line with the overall Kent percentage change which has dropped by 10%, which is believed to be as a direct result of lockdown restrictions, which shut down night time economies , restricted movement without reasonable excuse and saw more people spending time at home.  


The graph below shows how the Borough compares to other Kent districts.




Violent crime in this chart is made up of different crime types of a violent nature. The chart shows how Maidstone’s violent crime has changed in 2020 compared to 2019. We have seen an overall 3% decrease in violent crimes which is mainly driven by ‘Violence against the person’ as it accounts for 92% of the overall violent crimes. However, there is a significant drop of 12% and 18% in sexual offences and robbery respectively compared to the previous period.



The chart on the left shows how different crime types have changed in 2020 (current period) compared with 2019 (previous period). Burglaries in businesses and the community (non-residential) have seen the biggest percentage drop of 45%, although numbers were already relatively low.

Whilst we have seen a decrease year-on-year in all of the crime categories listed here, drug offences have significantly increased by 21%. This is believed to be as a result of Maidstone Police undertaking more stop searches. 


Regulatory response to the pandemic

During the pandemic, alongside the reactive response from services, SMP partners have also actively participated in implementing  the many new laws introduced by emergency legislation.  MBC’s Environmental Health team were empowered to ensure businesses introduced measures to protect customers including enforced closures. The police were given a number of powers to ensure social distancing legislation was adhered to, adopting their '4E' approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging the public to keep to the rules before enforcing as necessary. 

As with any regulatory activity, prevention is always prioritised against enforcement.  In the build up to the reopening of non-essential shops and services on 15th June 2020, a multi-agency working group, consisting of representatives from MBC, KCC, Kent Police and One Maidstone, worked together to create a “High Footfall Plan”.  Restrictions around the number of people allowed into stores safely and the likely intensified demand created a significant risk to users of the town and the surrounding transport infrastructure.  The plan put in place measures to address anticipated risks due to high footfall.  These measures included introducing new road traffic restrictions, new barriers and other traffic calming measures at key access points in order to protect people queuing from large delivery vehicles.  Further measures included swim lanes, one-way systems, and marshals to reduce pedestrian congestion at key pinch points and busy stores.  The work of the working group was underpinned by a very successful joint media strategy to ensure the public and businesses were fully aware of the restrictions within the town, the need to social distance, the potential for long queues at peak times; extensive information was provided on how to comply with regulations and where to get advice . Regular dialogue with the Chair of the Kent Association of Local Councils enabled feedback about any concerns in parished areas of the borough; advice and support was provided through MBC with respect to Covid-secure management of parks, open spaces and public toilets when needed.    

Between April 2020 and December 2020, the Environmental Health Service received 351 service requests, including reports via police intel, relating to alleged Covid 19 breaches and requests for advice.  Over 700 inspections have been undertaken by a special Covid 19 response team, made up of officers from across the Local Authority, who visited premises across the district to check for compliance.  The visits identified generally minor contraventions, typically poor signage in premises or staff not wearing face coverings.  Signs were provided to premises by MBC to assist them, which greatly improved compliance.  The wearing of face coverings is a personal responsibility which can only be enforced by the police.  The relevant intelligence was provided to them for follow up as required. 86 reports required follow up visits for further advice and possible enforcement through Environmental Health officers.

In response to guidance published by the Home Officer, Kent Police have also engaged in enforcement of the pandemic.  During 2020 the role advocated by the home office was for the police to take a supportive and advisory role. More recently the police have looked to use their powers more readily to challenge those knowingly breaching the legislation.  Since December 2020 115 FPNS have been issued in Maidstone and three £10k fines have been issued for serious offences. 

The Maidstone Task force

In September 2020 the Maidstone Task Force was launched.  Following an uplift in staffing for Kent Police, the decision was taken to utilise resources to provide the framework for an exciting new multi-agency task force for Maidstone.  As one of the largest districts in Kent, it was recognised that some areas in Maidstone have disproportionate levels of crime, social/economic deprivation and health inequality.  The Task Force’s objective is to seek to redress these imbalances, to work with those communities to provide resilience and long-term/permanent improvements.

The taskforce built on the existing strengths of the Safer Maidstone Partnership and a multi-agency team has now been established to provide enhanced joined up solutions to complex multi factorial problems.

Albeit there have been challenges as a result of the pandemic, the implementation phase of the project saw the creation of a new collaborative workspace within Maidstone House.  The space, which without social distancing restrictions will house up to 25 people from across the partnership, will form a Community Safety collaboration hub for both the task force focus and the borough as a whole. 

The first focus area selected for the task force was the combined wards of Shepway South and Shepway North. Analysis of the available crime data revealed high levels of ASB, particularly around the shops and in housing blocks, and Domestic Abuse in both Wards.   Analysis of the health data revealed that residents in the wards:

·         had a lower life expectancy and fewer healthy years lived than the national average and other parts of the borough (Male and Female)

·         were more likely to die prematurely (Coronary Heart Disease, Cardiovascular disease, Cancer)

·         experienced higher rates of mental illness

·         represented greater proportion of residents claiming benefits than the national average

·         had the highest A&E attendance and admission rates for the borough




Delivery in the focus areas is centred around “Building Community Engagement and Cohesion”.  Using a problem-solving model, known as OSARA, the task force is taking a partnership approach to challenging some of the social norms that are particular to the wards.  Tackling ASB in partnership with Golding Homes, who have provided a dedicated officer into the task force, has already seen some improvements in the area according to residents.




Given that the Task Force was introduced in September 2020, during a pandemic, it is still too soon to identify the impact the service has had.  Work will continue to deliver a public health approach to the area and comparative data sets will be drawn when it is appropriate to do so. 




Community Protection Team Activity






All Anti-social behaviour complaints



Significant increases were reported in ASB especially throughout the summer lockdown. Concerns in relation to young people gathering and neighbour tensions driven by the lockdown are believed to have contributed to this significant increase.      

All noise nuisances including amplified music and barking



As with ASB complaints, the increase in people working from home, particularly in the initial lockdown saw significant increases in service requests in April, May and June. In May the noise from one construction site, who were undertaking necessary piling works, generated more than 20 complaints, which was more than any other noise type for that month.    

Other Nuisance (Odour, dust etc.)



The impact of the pandemic saw an increase in nuisance complaints, particularly between neighbours.  We saw a 250% increase in bonfire smoke complaints between April and June.  It is felt that a combination of lots of people undertaking gardening whilst on lockdown, restricted access to recycling centres and fear around Covid-19 being linked to respiratory issues all led to an increase in reporting.  Most reports related to one off incidents. 

Dangerous and Nuisance dogs (Not strays)



No significant change.

Dog Fouling



The increase may be associated to more people walking locally during lockdown leading to more reports.  No area was identified, and most incidents appeared to be isolated. 

Straying and lost dogs’ enquiries





Although there is a reduction in the number of strays it is unclear if the pandemic specifically influenced the number of reports. It may be that more dogs were being walked on leads as part of permitted exercise and therefore less likely to be left in gardens or running off lead in public areas.  New Public Space Protection Orders were introduced in relation to dog control in September 2020. 

Street trading enquiries/ complaints



No significant change.

Enforcement Action

The Community Protection Notice remains one of the most effective tools in the Community Safety tool kit.  Introduced by the Anti-social behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, the Community Protection Notices (CPNs) allow authorised officers to require those who are behaving in an antisocial way or are allowing that behaviour to occur to take action to prevent its recurrence.  It is a legislative requirement to issue a written warning prior to issuing a CPN, which are still proving to be the most effective aspect of this power as compliance with warnings is relatively high. 


Breakdown of Community Protection Warnings Issued










Nuisance/Dangerous Dog (Inc. Barking)




Noise (Inc. with ASB)








Planning related issues



Unauthorised Encampments







Breakdown of Community Protection Notices Issued









Nuisance/Dangerous Dog (Inc. Barking)




Noise (Inc. with ASB)








Planning related issues



Unauthorised Encampments








In February 2020, having secured funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner, the CPT hosted a training event entitled “Tackling ASB and problem solving in Partnership”.  The training, delivered by a leading consultant in the field, allowed partners to explore the use of the powers together and develop new problem-solving models to tackle shared issues.  For colleagues, such as planners, the power provides a mechanism to tackle behaviour whilst following planning process.  But it was our police colleagues who embraced, leading to 38% of CPWs being issued in partnership with Kent Police officers. This was as a direct result of the training which provided Kent Police Officers with an insight into the usefulness of these powers.  Officers were encouraged to consider their use to tackle low level ASB and to tackle traditional crime in a new way, when appropriate. 

Where CPWs did not lead to a change in behaviour notices were issued. And, as a result of subsequent breaches, Fixed Penalty Notices were issued to 15 offenders. 

Unauthorised Encampments

In 2019 the CPT introduced the use of ASB powers to challenge the behaviour of those individuals or groups who created unauthorised encampments in the borough.  This led to a significant reduction in the impact the encampments were having on our communities.  In 2020 this trend continued with all, but one encampment removed within hours of first engagement by the team. 


No. Encampments

No. Locations

Avg. Time in Situ

Total No. Days of disruption
















As a result of the pandemic, additional safeguarding was introduced around encampments. As a result, the processes available to Local Authorities to move them on were limited.  Unless encampments were impacting unreasonably on the surrounding community, they could stay, to stop the possible spread of the virus.  One of the encampments was in situ for 62 days.  They were situated on a business park which was largely closed and could stay in situ as there were no complaints of ASB or nuisance.  All other encampments demonstrated behaviour or alleged criminality that meant that they were not afforded the same tolerance. 

Community Trigger

The ‘Community Trigger’ gives victims of persistent anti-social behaviour the ability to demand a formal case review where the locally defined threshold is met, in order to determine whether there is further action that can be taken. In 2020, one community trigger was instigated. This is related to a neighbour issue where the Police had issued a formal warning. The issue was ongoing, and the Community Trigger was activated.

A review was undertaken with the Police and it was felt that more action could be taken by the police.  An enforcement notice was issued on the offending party and additional support was provided by a PCSO to help support all parties.  

Other Relevant Data

Decrease in Hate Crimes	 

Hate Crime Data

The term 'hate crime' can be used to describe a range of criminal behaviour where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or demonstrates hostility towards the victim's disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

Over the last reporting period (Dec 19 to Nov 20) there have been 380 reported hate crimes this is compared to 383 the previous year a decrease of 3 cases. Race prejudice accounts for 74% of all hate crimes, followed by Sexual Orientation hate related crimes which accounts for 13% of all hate crimes. In addition, there were no reported crimes relating to gender and age prejudice this year. The table below shows a breakdown of the hate crimes. 

Within the police Community Safety Unit (CSU) a specialist role of Community Liaison Officer works with victims of hate crime and liaises directly with community groups to address any community fears. 

Integrated Offender Management (IOM) Data

The IOM process is a multi-agency approach to manage individuals, both young and adult, who are at risk of causing the most harm to their communities. The emphasis has moved away from solely Serious and Acquisitive Crime (SAC) to a more Threat, Risk and Harm approach which includes not only SAC, but Domestic Abuse (DA), Serious Violence, Gang activity, Organised Crime Groups (OCG), Troubled Families, Terrorism, Trafficking and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The IOM Cohort is currently at 243, this is 0.8% increase (+2) compared to the same time last year. West Division represents 35.8% of the cohort followed by East Division (34.6%) and North (29.6%). Around 70 of the Kent Cohort are in the Maidstone area, but this is fluid in line with the outcomes in court case and prison releases.

Update from Maidstone Mediation

Maidstone Mediation is in its 32nd year of delivering a free mediation service to the residents of Maidstone. In 2020 they received over 70 referrals; 40 of those were for conflicts between neighbours, issues ranging from noise nuisance to fireworks and several disputes over ownerships of pets. In normal circumstances mediation sessions are face to face however for the most of 2020 Maidstone Mediation used WhatsApp, facetime and MS Teams for the mediation process and talking to their clients. Mediation is voluntary whereby all parties involved in the conflict want the situation to change for the better. Of the 40 neighbourhood referrals, 10 resulted in a virtual face to face mediation with agreements reached, 15 referrals resulted a shuttle mediation process or the mediators worked with just one party. 15 referrals did not go ahead due to various reasons including preferring to wait until face to face meeting can be facilitated, one or other party withdrawing or deciding to follow the legal route through court. Those that did engage said that they were glad that they had taken part, that their situation was better and that there was greater understanding by all parties. Their own community was a better more peaceful place to live.

A further 29 referrals were for family and parent to teenager mediation. The majority of the family referrals were about child access and maintenance payments. It was evident when speaking to the parties that these issues had arisen or been made worse because of the lockdown restrictions. Child access had been made more difficult because of restrictions and payments of maintenance were late because of loss of jobs, furlough, and the distance to travel to physically hand the payments over. It can be said there were instances when the restrictions were also an excuse to not pay. Some parents have really struggled to communicate to their ex-partner and mediation has made a huge difference to their wellbeing and finding a good, fair resolution for everyone.  

There was also increase in adult referrals, 11, for the anger management course, these were facilitated via zoom etc. the course material was sent out to the client ahead of the course starting. The clients told us of feelings of frustration, anxiety, worry, feelings of being ‘caged in’ had manifested into feelings of anger. The anger was then taken out on family members and partners. All of those that engaged in the full course, 9, said that it was the best thing that they had done and it had made a big difference to how they felt about themselves and their circumstances.

To date the types of referral  received are around the same issues, ASB and  noise from neighbours because people have been in their homes more often, family conflict because families have been together in confined spaces for long periods of time, mental health has suffered because of the latter and because of financial worries, clients have expressed feelings of being sad because they have not seen their family, especially their children. Maidstone Mediation expect the referrals to continue and probably increase as lockdown restrictions end, as some adults and young people will continue to suffer and struggle in their relationships and with their neighbours as a direct consequence of the Pandemic.


Key Conclusions and Recommended Changes to the Community Safety Partnership Plan

Despite the challenges of an unprecedented year, the SMP continues to develop new levels of synergy across the partnership.  The strength of the partnership is no better demonstrated then by the agile way the partnership evolved in order to comply with the requirements of the national lockdowns with minimal impact on service delivery.  The global pandemic has had a significant impact on how front-line services have operated and how people have behaved.  The combined impact of reduced contact with the public, significant limitations on travel and social contact, and closure and strict restrictions in public spaces and recreational spaces, is that almost all services have seen unprecedented shifts in demand. As a result, some of the data for the last year is highly irregular.  Observations and analysis have considered the context of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on ‘normal’ day-to-day life.

Rather than focus on Covid-19 as a single specific priority or risk to community safety, the impact of the pandemic on each of the priority will be considered as the live action plans for each priority theme evolve.

As a result of the conclusions outlined below the Maidstone Community Safety Partnership Plan will also be refreshed to identify the key themes to be reflected in the action plans. 

Protecting our communities against serious, violent and organised crime (including modern-day slavery)

The Serious and Organised Crime Panel (SOCP), who deliver the action plan for this area have worked to disrupt and close an active OCG in the area.  However, a new OCG has recently been identified and mapped, relating to drugs/money laundering linked to sites in and around the town centre and plans will be built around disrupting their activity.  In the last 12 months the pandemic had a significant impact on the night-time economy (NTE).  As we work to deliver the government’s recovery “road-map” it will be important that the SMP works to support the reopening of the NTE.  The pandemic has also highlighted another form of organised crime in relation to the supply of dogs.  Changes in people’s lifestyles as a result of the pandemic have seen significant increases in demand for puppies in particular.  Unlicensed breeders and puppy farms are actively exploiting this demand and a partnership approach is needed to disrupt the illegal activity and to ensure animal welfare standards are met. 

Action Plan priorities for 2021/22 include:

·         Support the reopening of the NTE as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

·         Work to disrupt a new OCG relating to drugs/money laundering with links in and around the town centre. 

·         Work with partners to identify and disrupt illegal puppy farms and unlicensed breeders.

Keeping children and young people safe

Reported issues around increased risk-taking behaviour and young people gathering remain a concern for the coming months.  The return of support services and outreach will only be strengthened by the return of natural diversions.  The partnership will continue to support/assess those individuals and locations identified as either at risk or as a focal point respectively.  The Youth Safety Survey will provide information, from a young person’s perspective, that will help agencies understand the fears and challenges that young people face. This will also link into providing more support for parents.  Using new initiatives such as Caring Dads and the Barnardo’s Dice programmes which are being championed by KCC Early Help and Youth Services respectively, the partnership will look to provide parents with the skills needed to support young people in modern times.  With restrictions lifting on people’s movements, the “My Place” initiative will also be revisited to support young people who have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) moving to Maidstone. 

Increased use of OSARA across the partnership will provide more opportunities to consider not just those at risk of offending, but will look to provide more guardianship over specific locations and design out concerns, particularly in those areas, such as Brenchley Gardens, with a protracted history ASB and youth related issues.  The addition of new safeguarding police officers into the RAPTOR team and School’s policing team will increase not only the resource but the opportunity to engage early with families in need of support. 

Action Plan priorities for 2021/22 include:

·      Introduce the new “My Place” initiative, supporting young people whose families are placed in Maidstone as a result of violent or gang related concerns which had been delayed by the pandemic

·      Use the results of the Voice of Young Maidstone survey to guide the professionals and parents in the borough in protecting young people

·      Implement new initiatives to support parents, including Caring Dads and DICE training

Reducing the harm caused by domestic abuse (including stalking)

The full extent of the impact of the pandemic on the levels of domestic abuse is, as yet, unknown but it is feared that this under reported crime has increased significantly in the last year. Increased financial pressures, uncertainty and fear are all factors that will inevitably lead to increases in both physical abuse and controlling and coersive behaviour. The partnership will also pay particular attention to the upcoming European Football Championship which will likely be a catalyst for more abuse over the summer. 




The Domestic Abuse Forum will continue to look for opportunities to build on the government’s agenda to ensure that domestic abuse is made everyone's business by supporting the introduction of measures in the Domestic Abuse Act. The Domestic Abuse Champions initiative will see domestic abuse forums, from across Kent, come together to create an army of volunteers who are able to recognise and signpost victims into support services.  Awareness events for professionals in education and care will be revisited alongside initiatives that ask men to challenge abuse when they see it. 

Action Plan priorities for 2021/22 include:

·      Support the roll out of Domestic Abuse Champions across Maidstone and Kent in partnership with Kent Independent Domestic Abuse Services

·      Deliver more awareness raising events, such a Cradle to Grave, that target nurseries, schools and professionals who will be less aware of the impact of Domestic Abuse and availability of support 

Reduce the impact of substance misuse on our community

As outlined in the report the need to continue to disrupt supply and demand of illegal drugs remains an area that the SMP will continue to treat as a priority.  The increase in identification of drug offences is a good indicator of the police’s proactive stance on tackling those who prey on people that are vulnerable. In 2021/22 more focus is needed on understanding the demand associated with illegal substances.  In the task force focus area it has been identified that supply chains continue to target certain areas to meet the demand of local users and to prey on those that are vulnerable due to social/economic factors.  Closer work is needed with local public health leads and specialist substance abuse support services for both adults and young people.  Consideration is being given to the re-introduction of the substance misuse forum.

The renewal of the town centre public space protection order which incorporates an offence of alcohol related ASB provides partners, such as Kent Police and one Maidstone, with powers to challenge those whose behaviour is inappropriate in the town centre area.  As Part of the government’s pandemic recovery road map, Maidstone’s NTE is beginning to return.  This will enable the SMP to revisit the safe socialising scheme, encouraging NTE businesses once again to have greater awareness of issues, such as domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health.

Action Plan priorities for 2021/22 include:

·      Improving partnership working with public health leads including considering reintroduction of a Substance Misuse Forum

·      Revisit the powers available to disrupt the illegal sale of tobacco/alcohol including closure orders

·      Support the introduction of the Safer Socialising Scheme

·      Review the substance misuse responses to the Voice of Young Maidstone Survey and adapt services as necessary

Safeguard people whose mental health makes them vulnerable to becoming a victim or where it leads to an impact on the wider community

The ongoing nature of the pandemic means that the full extent of the mental health impact has not yet been assessed. The restrictions put in place as a result of each of the lockdowns have seen national concerns around increases in anxiety, depression, loneliness and poor life satisfaction.  In the Maidstone Resident Covid-19 Impact & Response Survey 52% of the 1245 respondent stated that their Mental Health had been negatively impacted.  The survey also demonstrate very strong links between mental health and feelings of safety.

The relationship with mental health services continues to improve with more consistent attendance at the weekly CSVG.  The introduction of mental health specialists into the homeless outreach team is a good example of how engagement with mental health services can lead to significant improvements in individual outcomes, with support plans being built around individual’s needs. The pilot initiative to utilise a Multi-Disciplinary Team to support people with ‘Co-occurring Conditions’ also presents a great opportunity for the SMP in 2021/22.

·      Host an awareness raising summit that ensures partners are aware of the signs and dangers of self-neglect in the community

·      Engage in pilot of a ‘Co-occurring Conditions’ Multi-Disciplinary Team for people who have Mental Health and Substance Misuse Issues from January 2021

·      Work with the CCG to ensure sustainable funding for mental health services for homeless/rough sleeping people

Additional areas for consideration 2021/22

Although the priority areas remain unchanged for the final year of the current Community Safety Partnership Plan, the impact of the pandemic remains a factor that the SMP needs to monitor closely.  The SMP has demonstrated its ability to respond to changes in need and demand, incorporating agile working and strong partnership links throughout the previous lockdowns.  Support is already being provided to enable safe and secure re-opening and operation of both the day and night time economy  as things begin to return to normal, but it is too early to assess fully what the new normal might look like for many people and what the long term impacts on health and wellbeing will be.  The SMP will need to be mindful of how the pandemic has impacted on specific business areas, such as the hospitality sector and events.  The Safety Advisory Group will face increased demand inline with the governments phased lifting of restrictions and will need to ensure social distancing controls continue to be used until it is safe to remove them. 

The Task Force provides a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference in the current focus area.  Greater understanding of the factors that sit behind the areas of social, economic and health deprivation is needed and will hopefully be provided through specific insight work and opportunities to engage with the community once restrictions are lifted.   As partnership engagement increases there remains an opportunity to introduce and pilot new initiatives that will address the public health needs of the community.  Initiatives that can be rolled out to the wider borough if deemed successful and sustainable.

Appendix 1 Demographics


Appendix 2


The Kent Community Safety Unit has explored the use of the MoRiLE (Management of Risk in Law Enforcement) scoring matrix to look at ranking offences based on threat, risk and harm. Maidstone Borough Council and others in Kent have again incorporated this methodology within this year’s Strategic Assessment.

The rationale behind MoRiLE is that it targets resources at offences that would have the biggest impact on individuals and organisations/areas. This contrasts with concentrating solely on crime figure tables which can sometimes provide a skewed view on threats and risk based only on the frequency/volume of crimes.

Each thematic crime area is scored individually against various criteria. There is then a formula that calculates a final score. These are then ranked high to low, listing priorities based on threat, risk & harm which can then contribute to the SMP’s final recommendation of priorities.

Appendix 3

Acronym Glossary

·         ASB = Anti-Social Behaviour

·         BOTD = Burglary Other Than Dwelling CCG = Clinical Commissioning Group

·         CDAP = Community Domestic Abuse Programme

·         CDRP = Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership

·         CGL = Change, Grow, Live

·         CPT = Community Protection Team CSE = Child Sexual Exploitation

·         CSP = Community Safety Partnership

·         CSU = Community Safety Unit

·         DA = Domestic Abuse

·         DTE = Day Time Economy

·         HMIC = Her Majesties Inspectorate of Constabulary

·         IDVA = Independent Domestic Violence Advisor

·         IOM = Integrated Offender Management

·         JSNA = Joint Strategic Needs Assessment

·         KCC = Kent County Council

·         KFRS = Kent Fire & Rescue Service

·         KSSCRC = Kent Surrey & Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company

·         MARAC = Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference

·         MBC = Maidstone Borough Council MOJ = Ministry of Justice

·         MoRiLE = Management of Risk in Law Enforcement

·         MSG = Most Similar Groups

·         NPS = National Probation Service or New Psychoactive Substances depending on context

·         NTE = Nighttime Economy

·         OCG = Organised Crime Group

·         SOCP= Serious and Organised Crime Panel

·         PCC = Police & Crime Commissioner

·         PS = Psychoactive Substances SMP = Safer Maidstone Partnership

·         SOC = Serious Organised Crime UE = Unlawful Encampments

·         VATP = Violence Against the Person

·         VCS = Voluntary & Community Service