Press release

Local Impact – Kent

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Police Now officers tackling crime and anti-social behaviour across Kent

Tuesday 8 June 2021

Nearly 40,000 fewer anti-social behaviour incidents nationally in areas with Police Now officers – equivalent to 14% fall

Substantial decrease in criminal damage & arson, burglary and theft amongst other crimes

Police Now attracts and develops the most diverse group of officers in policing

Police Now officers are playing a vital role in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in Kent.

Communities nationwide where Police Now officers have been posted for the last 22-months have seen 38,772 fewer incidents of anti-social behaviour compared to the same time period from October 2016 – equivalent to a 14 per cent drop.

Officers on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme have been working alongside their colleagues within their local neighbourhood teams.

As well as the drop in anti-social behaviour, communities have also seen 14,301 fewer incidents of criminal damage & arson – a fall of 13 per cent. There were 12,460 fewer incidents of burglary – a fall of 16 per cent – and 31,732 fewer incidents of theft, equivalent to a 14 per cent fall.

PC Beth Honess of Kent Police has used Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs), Community Protection Warnings and Closure Orders to disrupt criminality such as thefts, shopliftings and regular assaults within local high streets. This has had a positive impact on highly affected town centres as business owners operate with reduced fear of regular shoplifters.

In September 2020, PC Honess issued a CBO to a prolific shoplifter who would often assault anyone who attempted to stop her from stealing. The woman received conditions that banned her from high streets that she offended in, but she was also known to attend an address of a vulnerable adult and ‘cuckoo’, so the order also banned her from this address. This particular order was issued for a period of five years – she has since breached the conditions of the order and has received several custodial sentences as a result, reducing the incidents involving this individual.

PC Ben Cadge, also of Kent Police produced a shoplifting pack to help streamline the process for business owners and police when retail thefts happen. The pack contains lots of useful information and documents as well as a statement template and business impact statement to ensure a standardised process when incidents occur. When the investigating officer arrives, they will be handed the evidential package without the need to chase up missing information and evidence – leaving them to identify and apprehend the suspect, saving time, money and stress.

PC Cadge said: “In order to really break down barriers and walls, we must first seek to find unity in our common goals and interests, be open to differences of opinion, and not monolithic in our pursuit towards community cohesion. We must be diverse in our approach to these issues.”

Police Now’s mission is to transform communities by recruiting, developing and inspiring diverse leaders in policing.

Officers on Police Now’s programmes develop skills in leadership and problem-solving. They share a commitment to public service, fighting crime and inspiring social change alongside their colleagues.

Police Now has recruited a total of 1,830 officers across 33 forces in the UK, including Kent Police. Chief Constable Alan Pughsley QPM has invested in his communities by partnering with Police Now for the past two years, with six police constables joining the force via this route.

Police Now consistently recruits more officers who are women or from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds compared to any other entry route into policing. Police Now recruitment data shows that, nationally, 17 per cent of those joining Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme in 2020 identified as coming from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background and more than half (54 per cent) identified as women.

PC Beth Honess said: “I feel that having a force that can relate to their community better enables communication and increases levels of trust and co-operation that will allow for better investigation and disruption of crime.” 

“We’re incredibly proud of the positive impact our participants continue to have within their local communities, and their commitment to driving positive change with their colleagues so that everyone in our society, including the most vulnerable, have a chance to thrive”.

David Spencer

Co-founder of Police Now and former Detective Chief Inspector

Neighbourhood Police Officer | Beth Honess

Q&A with Police Constable Beth Honess

Neighbourhood Police Officer

National Graduate Leadership Programme Participant

Kent Police

Police Now is trying to increase diversity in the force. Do you think having a force that better reflects the community it serves helps to bring down crimes like anti-social behaviour and why?

I feel that having a force that can relate to their community better enables communication and increases levels of trust and co-operation that will allow for better investigation and disruption of crime.

What was the most important lesson you took from your training with Police Now that has enabled you to deal with crime / support your community?

I think that from training I have learnt to never enter into a situation hot-headed, this will just automatically put whoever you’re speaking to on the same level and there is no coming down from that or building a rapport. If you enter a situation level-headed, calm, friendly you can majority of the time exit it in the same way without escalation to violence. This again better enables communication.

Have you implemented any new initiatives to reduce ASB or burglary crimes, or build confidence in policing in your community?

I have not developed initiatives as such but have used ASB tools that have not been used within our district before to disrupt criminality. Primarily, I have used Criminal Behaviour Orders, Community Protection Warnings/Notices and Closure Orders to disrupt criminality such as thefts, shopliftings and regular assaults within the Medway high streets. This has had a positive impact on the town centres highly affected who can now run their businesses without fear of regular shoplifters targeting their stores and assaulting their staff.

I’ve issued about 18 Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) for several reasons: repeat callers, shoplifters and one was a youth causing ASB. One of my better examples is one issued in September 2020. She was a prolific shoplifter and in the course of her offending would assault anyone who attempted to stop her whilst she was offending. She primarily received conditions that banned her from the high-streets that she offended in, but she was also known to attend an address of a vulnerable adult and cuckoo so she was also banned from here. This Order was made to last five years. She has since breached these conditions on several occasions and has received several custodial sentences.

What has been the moment that you have been most proud of professionally in the last 22 months?

I have become a point of contact particularly in my district, and further, for the utilisation of Criminal Behaviour Orders in preventing crime and disrupting prolific offenders. I am proud of the progress that I have made in the force and the mark that I have made in using an effective tool that has been widely recognised and asked about.

Q&A with Police Constable Ben Cadge

Neighbourhood Police Officer

National Graduate Leadership Programme Participant

Kent Police

Police Now is trying to increase diversity in the force. Do you think having a force that better reflects the community it serves helps to bring down crimes like anti-social behaviour and why?

I think engaging with the community, gaining trust, and building bridges is important to effective policing. The methods by which one does this are multi-variable, complex, and more than simply representation. People are unique, and more than just the sum of the boxes and labels attached to them.

In order to really break down barriers and walls, we must first seek to find unity in our common goals and interests, be open to differences of opinion, and not monolithic in our pursuit towards community cohesion. We must be diverse in our approach to these issues, in other words. I fear that some methods, instead of uniting people, have the counterintuitive effect of further dividing people against each other. We must demonstrate by our actions, that we value those communities where trust of police is weak.

If the police instead highlight that they as a force are impartial and fair to all, and act in a manner which reflects those words, then they will organically gain the trust and support of our wonderfully diverse and varied communities.

What was the most important lesson you took from your training with Police Now that has enabled you to deal with crime / support your community?

The empirically rigorous approach to community problem solving was an idea that intrigued me. Within my team, we are encouraged to employ novel methods in order to affect real change. These methods may not always yield black and white measurable results in the same way other methods might. But target-based policing is not a one-size-fits-all method.

Have you implemented any new initiatives to reduce ASB or burglary crimes, or build confidence in policing in your community?

I have not long been in my community policing role and have only just returned from a six-month absence due to serious illness, so I can only speak of current initiatives in the pipeline. Within a particular retail area I am focusing on, the single most common complaint I received when speaking to various stakeholders was the issue of shoplifting.

From my perspective in dealing with shoplifting incidents, I have found the process to be full of areas which would benefit from implementing a streamlined approach. No shoplifting investigation I have been involved with has been a fully smooth process, with statements coming back missing vital information and business owners who, after having statements taken, reply that they will not be supporting prosecution. Accordingly, I have produced a shoplifting pack which will be trialled with businesses in the area. It has been designed to help both the businesses themselves and the officers assigned to the incidents, saving time, money, and stress.

The pack contains safeguarding information, and tips for staff in how to best prevent shoplifting. Posters can be put up in staff common areas to ensure everyone is on the same page and knows how to both prevent and deal with incidents, for example. Following best practice guidance, I have created a proforma statement template for the businesses to fill out, along with a business impact statement in their own words. The pack goes into detail as to what evidence is required and how to best save it. By following this standardised process, every incident will follow the same pattern and time will be saved. When the investigative officer arrives, they will be handed the evidential package, without the need to chase up missing information and evidence, leaving them to the business of identifying and apprehending the suspect.

I anticipate that shops which implement such a rigorous approach will quickly gain a reputation in the community as somewhere to avoid shoplifting from, and so overall incidents will reduce.

What has been the moment that you have been most proud of professionally in the last 22 months?

Since returning to work after having six-months sick leave following complications due to COVID, I have been working on a project to produce an app for neighbourhood policing for my area. This is to help cooperation between teams and properly share information with officers who join the Community Safety Unit. Many officers have produced excellent how-to-guides, procedure & process documents, templates, exemplars, address books, etc, for various many crucial aspects of the work we carry out. The app is to help compile this information in a readily accessible format.

I have been steadily working on collating this information, and at times writing best practice procedure personally, for every aspect of neighbourhood policing in our area. The app I have created will serve as a repository for all this information, serving both as an introduction to neighbourhood policing for those in other teams, and as a source of best practice guidance for those working within. The software available to me is limited, having come up against the bulwark of information security protocol, but I have leant heavily on my background in engineering where necessity is the mother of invention.

The current proof of concept showcases the potential such a system has to offer. It is touch screen compatible, available on both desktop and mobile, and does not require any expertise whatsoever to use, having been designed according to ergonomic principles. It provides quick links to each team in the neighbourhood policing family, with sections for how they can work alongside you in various ways, the kind of work they do, how-to-guides, expert advice on various subjects, and referral forms to other agencies. When an officer is mentioned, their phone number is included and beside them is an icon which will open their duties along with icon which will open outlook to send them an email.

Plain language is purposely employed throughout, because often teams will develop an ingroup colloquial verbiage. A common complaint amongst the public when dealing with the police is simply not understanding the jargon. I carried out an extensive search of every single acronym used by Kent Police and ensured acronyms are defined consistently and repeatedly throughout, with straightforward language taking the place of in-speak. The purpose of the app is to create a cultural shift within policing towards the breaking down of barriers, making the sharing of information accessible to all.

Data references

Using data taken from Police Recorded Crime Statistics, the independently peer-reviewed figures compare the 22-month period from October 2016 to July 2018 before any Police Now officers had joined their local communities to the period when they joined from October 2018 to July 2020.

The data presented here is subject to limitations with Police Recorded Crime Statistics and methodology. More details on this are available at the bottom of the following Police Now webpage.

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Media and Communications Manager

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Media and Communications Officer

Devon & Cornwall Police

Police Now | Devon & Cornwall Constabulary
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Shaun Sawyer

Chief Constable

National Graduate Leadership Programme

Cohorts: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
No. of police officers enrolled: 8

National Detective Programme

Cohorts: —— —— —— —— 2019 2020
No. of police officers enrolled:

Case studies: