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KCC’s Knife Crime Select Committee Report

KCC’s Knife Crime Select Committee compiled its findings and recommendations into a report to County Council on 17 October 2019.

KCC’s Knife Crime Select Committee Report is now available. As Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services, I am keen to continue to work with officers to explore opportunities to tackle the presence and impact of knife crime in Kent.

I recognise that school and teaching staff are under a tremendous amount of pressure and managing poor behaviour in its many forms can be a significant challenge. Therefore, having a confident workforce, trained in how to respond to concerns of criminal exploitation, including knife crime, amongst pupils is of great importance to me and all KCC Members. KCC and The Education People already enjoy a great deal of partnership working and we want to continue to develop these relationships to ensure that training needs are fully met. I have written to the Secretary of State for Education to express the collective view that the statutory guidance for schools and governing bodies on the management of poor behaviour needs to be updated to fully consider the context of the challenges that schools and children, young people and families face today.

The key transition periods in a child or young person’s life are significant milestones that bring with them pressures and anxieties and are often the points at which robust interventions are most needed to avoid an escalation of their vulnerabilities. This is where working together has the biggest impact. I am encouraged by the examples I have seen in the growing uptake by schools of training packages delivered by The Educations People, the increasing partnership working between schools and police youth engagement officers and ongoing relationships between KCC Early Help attendance and inclusion staff and schools. We have also been able to evidence excellent learning from the various pilots between KCC and schools. These examples of positive results from partnership working help us for the many challenges that lay ahead of us and I want to offer my support to maximise the opportunities to develop and share these more widely.

The refocusing by Kent Police to support vulnerable groups and the development of the role of Police Youth Engagement Officers (YEOs) increases the opportunities for schools to work collaboratively to reduce the risk of criminal exploitation of children and young people. They can help to secure support for children and young people at risk of being exploited (through radicalisation, involvement in gangs, hate or mate crime) or vulnerable to crime. They act as the focal point for intelligence gathering and information sharing between educational establishments, community-based youth groups and key partners. YEOs support children and young people both inside and outside schools; to develop trust, confidence and to build positive relationships. You can find out who your local YEO is by contacting your District Community Safety Unit (PDF, 9.9 KB).

I look forward to working with you all on this very important agenda. Thank you all for the support you provide to the children and young people of Kent.

Sue Chandler
Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services