Page last updated at 17:14 GMT, Thursday, 17 July 2008 18:14 UK

Reported crime rates drop in Kent

Kent Police
Violent crime, criminal damage, burglary and vehicle crime dropped

Crime recorded by the police has fallen by 10.4% over the past year in Kent, according to the latest report.

The Home Office's annual Crime in England and Wales document records 80 crimes for every 1,000 people in Kent, compared to a national average of 91.

Statistics showed there were 15,133 fewer crimes reported from April 2007 to March 2008 than the previous year.

Crimes against the person dropped by 9% across Kent, but the results varied between parts of the county.

Sevenoaks had the biggest drop in reported attacks in south east England with a 25% reduction on the previous year's figures.

However, in Thanet there was a 7% increase in crimes against the person - 23 for every 1,000 of the local population, compared with just six in Sevenoaks and the county's overall figure of 15.

We will work hard to continue to improve the reductions we've seen in the last year
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge

Across the county, Kent Police saw a drop in violent crime, criminal damage, burglary and vehicle crime figures.

In the past year, 18% of the 327 attempted murders, GBH assaults and robberies in Kent involved a knife.

Drugs offences increased, but a police spokesperson said it was because officers had been working to destroy distribution networks in the county.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge said: "These latest crime figures are good news and make us more determined to improve our performance levels even further.

"It is encouraging that the number of crimes being committed continues to fall even now and we will work hard to continue to improve the reductions we've seen in the last year."

The report included results from the British Crime Survey of people's experiences of crimes as well as statistics of those recorded by police.

Crime experiences

Fears about crime were all found to be similar to the rest of the South East and below the English average, with a high level of worry about violent crime at 14%, car crime at 10% and burglary at 9%.

Residents of Gravesham experienced the biggest drop in experiences of crime in the South East.

The survey shows a 22% decrease compared to the previous year despite still having 56 offences per 1,000 of population, Kent's third highest after only Dartford and Thanet.

The total number of crimes recorded fell from 146,402 to 131,269. Kent Police officers made 50,978 arrests.

In the South East region, there was an overall drop in crime of 9%.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: "The fall in crime in the South East shows the difference that can be made when we work together to tackle crime and is a testament to the effort and commitment shown by police and crime reduction partners across region."


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