The Medway Task Force is a multi-agency initiative agreed as part of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner’s Violence Reduction Challenge. The aim of this initiative is to tackle and reduce violent crime by looking at causational factors and context. This briefing is to seek the support of the Health and Wellbeing Board.
The Medway Task Force had been established in response to the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner’s Violent Crime Reduction Challenge. It was intended that the Task Force would draw from the successes of the Margate Task Force and would be based at Medway Council to facilitate a co-located set up. Details of the strategic aims and objectives of the Task Force were set out in paragraph 2.4 of the report and its functions and responsibilities were outlined in paragraph 2.5 of the report.
In recognition of the need to ensure that the work of the Task Force was sustainable, the importance of the involvement of the community and key stakeholders from partner organisations, commissioned services and the voluntary and community sector was emphasised. It was noted that there would be a separate strategy document, Tactical Delivery Plan, Communications Strategy and Risk Register, all of which would be subject to performance monitoring and effectiveness evaluation. Further details of the governance arrangements were set out in paragraph 2.6 of the report.
The approach to the Task Force was welcomed, in particular the balanced way in which it was proposed to work with relevant agencies to understand the underlying causes of crime to drive long lasting solutions. Members highlighted that the Task Force had a clear focus on keeping Medway safe. The Director of Public Health explained that there needed to be a focus on prevention and early intervention and added that the work across the Public Health teams in Kent and Medway on violent crime reduction would complement the work of the Task Force.
In response to questions in relation to publicity of the Task Force and its Communications Strategy, it was explained that the Strategy was still under development and as not all partnership staff were in post publicity had been limited. The Board was assured that there would be further communications at the launch of the Task Force. The Communications Strategy would develop over time but it was considered important that different mediums were used and messages disseminated quickly. To that end, the team had recently undertaken training on the usage of Twitter. Communications would include good news stories. A Member suggested that the parish magazine would be a good tool to reach more rural areas. The Medway Task Force Manager (Kent Police) agreed to add this to the Communications Strategy.
It was stressed that engagement with the community, including young people was very important to the Task Force. The Medway Task Force Manager (Kent Police) gave an undertaking to engage with Medway Youth Council.
A Member also explained the importance of engaging with young carers. In response, the Medway Task Force Manger (Kent Police) advised the Board that Carers First had welcomed the opportunity to work with the Task Force and once the full team was in post, Carers First would be invited to meet with the team to provide an overview of their role.
Addressing concerns over the supply and strength of drugs within Medway’s Town Centres, it was explained that the Task Force had already commenced work in Town Centres. It was noted that drugs continued to be a major driver of many crimes, not just violent crime, and so this would be a focus area for the Task Force.
The Health and Wellbeing Board:
a) noted the progress towards establishing the Medway Task Force; and
b) noted the governance model set out at paragraph 2.6 of the report.