Minister Praises Kent Police Action On Drugs
Crime reduction minister James Brokenshire says Kent Police are setting a good example in tackling drug and alcohol abuse. In his first official visit since landing the Home Office job, Mr Brokenshire – also the Tory MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup – met with officers in Gravesend to see how the force is approaching the problem.
He also spoke to drug workers at the town’s Horizon project, which provides support for addicts to help them find employment and turn their backs on crime. Mr Brokenshire said: “This was my first visit as a minister and it was very much a fact-finding mission for me.
“The new government is committed to tackling drug misuse and reducing the damage it can cause to our communities. “We want to target both prolific drug users and the unscrupulous people who bring drugs onto our streets.
“It is really encouraging to see how Kent Police are working so closely with housing teams, drugs workers and residents to address the issues that really matter to local people, and in doing so helping make the area a safer place to live.
“There’s a real sense in Gravesend that a focus is being put on the community by the police, the council, housing groups and so on, and it showed me how we need to look closely at how such partnerships can be strengthened for better results and better communities.” Mr Brokenshire was first elected as the MP for Hornchurch, Essex, in 2005 but had to find a new seat after the electoral boundaries were redrawn.
After unsuccessfully seeking selection in the Kent constituencies of Gillingham and Rainham and Maidstone and the Weald, he was finally picked to contest the safe seat of Old Bexley and Sidcup – winning with a 34.9 per cent majority in last month’s General Election.
Chief Insp Philip Painter said: “In north Kent we are continually working towards addressing drug misuse. Only recently we ran a huge operation which saw more than 50 people arrested and charged with drug offences, effectively breaking down the networks of drug users and suppliers across the region.
“Our neighbourhood teams work in our communities, together with the local councils and other partner agencies to address the concerns of people living there. “We can and will deal with issues around drugs.”