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Minister visits estate winning crime battle

PUBLISHED: 17:20 02 June 2010 | UPDATED: 11:44 23 August 2010

TALKS: James Brokenshire with PCSO Leigh-Anne Cook and PC Val Wilkinson.

TALKS: James Brokenshire with PCSO Leigh-Anne Cook and PC Val Wilkinson.

NEW Crime Reduction Minister James Brokenshire chose a notorious council estate for his first official visit. Mr Brokenshire met with police, council housing staff and Gravesham MP Adam Holloway to see the steps being taken to fight crime, particularly d

NEW Crime Reduction Minister James Brokenshire chose a notorious council estate for his first official visit.

Mr Brokenshire met with police, council housing staff and Gravesham MP Adam Holloway to see the steps being taken to fight crime, particularly drug dealing in the town.

Visiting drugs rehabilitation centre Horizon before a tour of the Kings Farm Estate, the minister praised the work that has seen crime fall by almost 50 per cent in the past five years.

He said: "I came to Gravesend because there is some very good work that North Kent Police has been doing to curb prolific offenders and reduce the dealing of drugs in this area."

He highlighted the recent success of council housing officers and police in evicting serial offender Andrew Reader from Kings Farm, as well as asset seizures and the shared use of information to tackle drugs dealing.

Questioned on the issues of post code gangs on estates such as Kings Farm, Mr Brokenshire highlighted the importance of high visibility on the streets and working with families at a young age to stop them entering a life of crime.

Kings Farm estate contains about 600 council-owned properties.

Chief Inspector Philip Painter was pleased the work in Gravesend would shape national policy.

He said: "In real terms a drop in crime of 47 per cent in the last five years has seen tens of thousands benefit. One thing of great importance is working in partnership with the Criminal Justice Board.

"People think when we hand someone over to the courts that is it. We know the day they will be released and make daily visits to our biggest offenders so they know we are keeping tabs on them.

"We make their lives difficult until they see that committing crime will only get them back in prison.

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