Kent Police will be carrying out search and arrests and working with young people who are caught up in violent crime in a county-wide scheme.
The campaign is designed to identify and pursue offenders who commit robberies, serious assaults and other major crimes, sometimes with the use of knives or other offensive weapons. It will form part of an existing strategy known as Operation Raptor, which also targets the distribution of class A drugs.
In addition to carrying out searches and arrests, officers will be working with partner agencies to identify young people at risk of being drawn into crime to try and help them find a better path through education and training.
Increase in reports
Assistant Chief Constable Nick Downing said: “There has been an increase in reports of violence being committed by young people in Kent.
“Kent is a safe place to live, work and visit and we are taking a robust stance against violent crime to ensure it stays that way. We simply will not tolerate these types of offences on our streets and will use every tool at our disposal to bring those responsible to justice.
“We will also work closely with partners, schools and youth groups to educate young people about the considerable risk they may be putting themselves in by becoming involved in crime.”
Following a national campaign to prevent and disrupt knife crime that took place in October will be a firearms surrender that will be running in November.
Uniformed officers are also providing a visible presence in town centres, including Ramsgate, in order to reassure residents, businesses and visitors by deterring crime and antisocial behaviour.
ACC Downing said: ”While young people are not solely responsible for violent crime, we are committed to identifying those who have committed offences or are at risk of falling into what for many is a downward spiral of criminality.
“I would ask all parents, teachers and professionals who come into contact with children to be vigilant and speak up if they believe a child is becoming involved in crime or exploited by others.
“Young people may be attracted to crime because of a sense of belonging or financial gain, but crime does not pay and we hope to spread this message in the strongest possible way.”
Advice on what to do if you believe a child you know is becoming involved in violent crime can be found at www.kent.police.uk/advice/gangs.