Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, High Street Maidstone

Contact: Committee Services  01622 602032

Note: Overview and Scrutiny Committee acting as the Crime & Disorder Committee 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Councillors Hinder and McKenna.


Notification of Substitute Members


Councillor Brindle was present as Substitute for Councillor Hinder.


Urgent Items


The Chairman stated that there were two urgent updates to Item 12 – Safety Review – Internal Stakeholder Consultation, which were the Communications Team’s Communications and Engagement Plan and written evidence from Housing Associations operating within the Town Centre. The documents related to the Committee’s evidence collection process.


Notification of Visiting Members


There were no Visiting Members.


Disclosures by Members and Officers


In relation to Item 12 – Safety Review – Internal Stakeholder Consultation, Councillor Brice stated that she was a Council Representative to the One Maidstone BID Advisory Board.  


Disclosures of Lobbying


There were no disclosures of lobbying.




RESOLVED: That all items be taken in public as proposed.


Minutes of the Meeting Held on 18 October 2022 pdf icon PDF 121 KB


RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 18 October 2022 be approved as a correct record and signed, subject to the ‘TCTF’ being referred to as the ‘Town Centre Task Force’ in the first instance.


Presentation of Petitions


There were no petitions.


Question and Answer session for Local Residents


There were no questions from Local Residents.


Questions from Members to the Chairman


There were no questions from Members to the Chairman.


Safety Review - Internal Stakeholder Consultation pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Additional documents:


The Democratic Services Officer introduced the report and highlighted the example questions contained within point 2.7 of the report. The review’s timeline and the urgent updates provided were briefly outlined.


The attendees were as follows, with each attendee having briefly introduced themselves and their role at the Council:


·  Julie Maddocks, Communications Manager

·  Martyn Jeynes, Community and Strategic Partnerships Manager

·  John Littlemore, Head of Housing and Regulatory Services


The attendees were asked for their views on the progress made to Town Centre Safety; the Head of Housing and Regulatory Services stated that public safety had been improved across the day-and-night-time economies. The requests made by the previous Communities, Housing and Environment Committee had been actioned in recognition of the previous concerns raised.


The Community and Strategic Partnerships Manager emphasised that the Town Centre Task Force (TCTF) had implemented fundamental actions to improve public safety but recognised that some of these may be long-term.  The short-term actions, such as youth hub provision and increased communications were briefly outlined. Individuals were beginning to actively challenge against negative perceptions of the Town Centre.


The Communications Manager stated that Town Centre Safety had been a priority for their team across the past 12 months, with 16 press releases produced relating to Community Protection, Public Safety, Enforcement and Waste Crime. The ‘Safer Streets’ funding had enabled further advertising through posters and banners, with a radio campaign beginning on 23 December 2022. The Stay Connected Newsletters through the GovDelivery system and the Council’s Borough Insight Magazine were outlined as additional methods to providing information to local residents. The communication with external stakeholders and partnership organisations had improved across the last year.


All attendees noted the difficulty in improving the Town Centre’s reputation, but that progress was being made.


The Committee reiterated the need to ensure that the communications produced promoted the positive actions and achievements of the Council, particularly as negative press often attracted greater attention, acting to outweigh the positive communications produced.


In response to questions, the Head of Housing and Regulatory Services stated that they would provide a written response to the Committee on the suitability of Licensing Officers attending the Town Centre Street Scene meetings; provided that the team were given sufficient notice, they could attend those meetings where appropriate. The liaison between the Council’s Licensing and Community Safety Teams and Kent Police was excellent, with the teams co-located to assist in partnership working.


The Committee strongly expressed concern at violence and crime directed at women and young girls and the need to challenge inappropriate behaviour. In response, the Head of Housing and Regulatory Services referenced the long-term aspirations of the work currently being undertaken, such as educating young men and boys, in improving public safety.


The Community and Strategic Partnerships Manager stated that they and their colleagues had recently visited the Town Centre during a Friday evening, to directly engage with women and ask for them to complete a safety survey; cup covers were also distributed. In response to questions, it was stated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70.




7.15 p.m. to 8.38 p.m.