12/07/18 -Reducing Violent Crime

Prior to becoming an MP in 2010 I was a solicitor for 23 years and witnessed, at first-hand, the impact that violent crime can have upon victims, their families, friends and the local community.

I am greatly encouraged, therefore, that recorded crime overall has fallen, now being a third lower than it was a decade ago, and Kent remains a very safe place to live. However, in the last few years, there has been a noticeable increase in violent crime, rising by 47% in the last year in Kent, with Maidstone ranking highly amongst the hotspots for violent crime in our county.

Matthew Scott, our excellent Police and Crime Commissioner in Kent, has rightly identified tackling this issue as a top priority for Kent Police and has now launched his Violence Reduction Challenge, which has begun with a wide-ranging public consultation.

This is a major challenge and redressing it will require real partnership working and co-operation. Constituents of Maidstone & The Weald can play a significant part by responding to Matthew Scott's survey here and I would encourage everyone to do so.

Our PCC is acting in concert with central Government who have also published a serious violence strategy, committing to innovative prevention and robust law enforcement and backed up by £40 million of funding.

I look forward to the outcomes of Matthew's consultation and hope to see a reversal in violent crime in Kent as the plan unfolds.

On a final, more contemporaneous note; by the time this newspaper is published the two big events of this week will have taken place; England's first World Cup semi-final in 28 years and the Centenary of the Royal Air Force. If our government, the people and the media get behind our Brexit challenge with the unity and gusto of our national football team, and take steel from the RAF motto 'through adversity to the stars', there's little we cannot achieve.


Helen's column is published weekly in the Kent Messenger. Please note the print version may differ from the content here.

Launch of flood management 'wetlands' project in Marden

Louise Smith from KCC, Farmer Peter Hall, Helen Grant MP, KCC Councillor Mike Hill and Julie Foley of the Environment Agency

A great step forward was taken for Medway River flood management at the launch of the Little Mill Farm wetlands project in Marden last weekend.

It is the fruit of an idea hatched by local farmer and land owner Peter Hall to harness natural processes to reduce flood risk further downstream. Measures include the use of 'intentionally leaky' small wooden dams to hold back water and slow the flow, the creation of temporary flood water storage areas and restoring river channels and natural meanders.

The project was supported and delivered by a wide range of stakeholders including the Environment Agency, Kent County Council, and Maidstone Borough Council.

Local MP Helen Grant has followed the progress of the project from its inception in November 2016 to the official launch this weekend. She said 'This is 'partnership working' at its best, with stakeholders all contributing resources and expertise to deliver a meaningful benefit for the community. I thank Peter Hall in particular for offering the use of four acres of his land for the 13,000 cubic metre Wetlands project and coming up with the vision. It is a great bonus for birds and other wildlife in the locality too'.

The launch event was designed to promote the idea to other local landowners and organisations who may take up grants for the idea with suitable land of their own. Over 50 people attended.

05 JUL 2018

The NHS at 70

Back in 1948 nobody could have predicted the shape of the National Health Service today. Back then, in a country still feeling the effects of World War II, the practicalities of providing free healthcare to men, women and children across the board was not...

03 JUL 2018

More Speakers for Rural Business Forum

Two more speakers have joined the team to address farmers, councillors and rural business stakeholders at a special Rural Business Forum arranged by Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant. George Eustice MP - Minister of State at the Department for Environment,...

30 JUN 2018

Helen Grant Calls for More Community Volunteers

Helen Grant paid a visit to the Maidstone Corps of the Salvation Army recently to meet with their leader Major Lynne Clifton and to chat with volunteers and guests. Recognised for their choirs and the Salvation Army Band, the organisation also opens its...

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With very best wishes


Helen's column

12 JUL 2018

Reducing Violent Crime

Kent Messenger Column - 12-07-18 Prior to becoming an MP in 2010 I was a solicitor for 23 years and witnessed, at first-hand, the impact that violent crime can have upon victims, their families,...

05 JUL 2018

Thameslink Trains

The rail chaos up and down the country in recent weeks has been appalling. Words of apology and resignations are frankly rather hollow gestures for passengers whose livelihoods depend on a decent...

28 JUN 2018

MBC v KCC Judical Review

Kent Messenger Column - 28-06-18 If Maidstone's roads are to become less congested our local authorities must work together toward a long-term plan; one that would include some form of Southern...