Policing successes in Medway and Kent were highlighted in the House of Commons on Monday following a cross-agency meeting arranged by Mark Reckless in Medway, and attended by Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC).
Following an invitation from Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood and fellow HASC member, to visit the constituency, Mr Vaz met with key figures in the local community including Ian Learmonth, the Chief Constable of Kent, Cllr Rodney Chambers, leader of Medway Council, and Neil Davies, CE of Medway Council, to discuss how innovative and effective programmes such the Safe Exit and Integrated Offender Management schemes have achieved real and tangible results in the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour.
The Safe Exit scheme was launched by the Kent Police in Medway in partnership with the Medway Drug and Alcohol Team, Medway Council and NHS Medway to tackle the negative impact that street prostitution has on local communities. To date the scheme has seen over 80% of women involved in the illegal sex trade in Medway sign up to receive advice and support, enabling them to take control of their lives and leave the trade safely.
The Integrated Offender Management scheme is run by staff from the Kent Police, Youth Offending services and other agencies to tackle the most problematic offenders within a specific area or community.
Both of these schemes were praised by Keith Vaz when he returned to Westminster for questions to the Home Secretary. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Vaz stated:
“This morning, at the invitation of the hon. Member for Rochester and Strood (Mark Reckless), I visited Medway and was shown two innovative, award-winning schemes pioneered by the police there to combat prostitution and to ensure effective offender management.”
Mark Reckless MP welcomed the visit, saying:
“I was really pleased to welcome Keith Vaz to the constituency in his role as Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee. We had a really constructive meeting and debate on the role of policing here in Medway. In my role with the Kent Police Authority, and as a Medway Councillor, I have worked closely with the Police and other agencies to ensure we deliver the best possible service to the people of the Medway Towns.
I particularly welcome the Chairman’s recognition in the House of Commons for the innovative schemes we have developed here in Medway to tackle prostitution and reoffending. It has been shown that by working closely with local councils and other agencies, the Police can tackle the root causes of problems within our communities. I hope that other forces will replicate this ground-breaking work which we have been doing in Medway and which Keith and I have promoted in Parliament this week.”