Community Safety Partnership
Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) were set up as statutory bodies at district and unitary local authority level under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The responsible authorities are required to work together to develop and implement strategies to protect their local communities from crime and to help people feel safe. This includes developing local approaches to deal with issues including anti-social behaviour, drug or alcohol abuse, domestic abuse and re-offending. In doing so, they work in partnership with a range of other local public, private, community and voluntary groups and with the wider community.
Community Safety Partnerships are required to prepare a partnership plan informed by an annual joint strategic assessment. The administration for the partnerships is a statutory duty of the relevant local authority.
Ashford Borough Council’s statutory partners include representation from the following agencies:
- Kent Police
- Kent County Council (Community Safety)
- Kent Fire and Rescue Service
- Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company and/or National Probation Service
- Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group
The above statutory partners each have voting rights.
- Ashford Borough Council Member – Portfolio Holder for Highways, Wellbeing and Safety
- Ashford Domestic Abuse Forum
- Kent County Council Member
- Early Help and Preventative Services/Local Children’s Partnership Group (KCC)
- Head Teachers Forum
- Tenterden Town Council
Other agencies are invited to attend as appropriate.
The chair alternates yearly between the local authority and Kent Police.
The Community Safety Partnership produce an annual strategic assessment which provides information and understanding of community safety issues within the borough of Ashford.
The priorities for 2021-22 have been identified as follows:
- Tackling violence;
- Tackling domestic abuse and sexual offences;
- Tackling anti-social behaviour;
- Building community capacity and increasing public confidence.
Community Safety Unit
The Community Safety Unit (CSU) is the operational group that sits below the Strategic Community Safety Partnership. The CSU meet monthly with various partners to discuss particular issues and suggest solutions and initiatives at a local level. They also act as the single point of contact for any community safety related issues.
Agencies involved include:
- Kent Police
- Ashford Borough Council (Community Safety, Housing, Parking, Licensing, Planning, Environmental, Fraud, Revenue and Benefits and more)
- Housing Associations
- KCC Community Wardens
- Kent Fire and Rescue Service
- Ashford Partnership Against Crime (APAC)
- Alcohol and Substance Misuse Services – both youth and adult
- Ashford Street Pastors
- Sk8side and Uprising Youth Services
- KCC Trading Standards
- Age UK
- Ashford Mediation Service
Various multi-agency initiatives and operations are undertaken throughout the year to tackle problem areas within the borough.
Safety in Action
The CSU runs a yearly interactive event for all Year Six school children to teach them about some of the dangers they may face as they become more independent and prepare for their transition from primary school to secondary school.
The programme covers a wide range of topics that we review annually to ensure that we are dealing with current “street scene” and topics covered to date have been: drugs and alcohol, fire safety, railway safety, road safety, coach safety, personal safety, stranger danger, peer pressure, bullying, anti-social behaviour, smoking, emergency planning and mental health.
The children are put together in small groups and have to progress through the workshops in a systematic, carousel manner until all workshops have been visited. The workshops deliver the various vital messages to the children in a fun and interesting way by partners of Community Safety by way of role play or informative discussions. The selection of workshop topics have been selected using previous evaluations completed by the children attending Safety In Action over the past few years together with intelligence from partners identifying current topical problems that we as a Community Safety Unit are encountering on a regular basis.
The programme is delivered by various agencies, such as the Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Kent Police, Kent County Council, Ashford Borough Council, RNLI, Ashford College and the British Transport Police.
Please note that due to Covid-19 restrictions this event did not take place during 2020 and will be a virtual event this year instead (2021).