Post #TheOtherElection Analysis

Medway Council

Current Administration: Conservative

Keevil Prediction: No Overall Control
Jennings Prediction: No Overall Control

Result
Conservative Administration

Thoughts
Our 3 months of political punditry showed that we knew less then Jon Snow (Game of Thrones reference rat fans (80’s reference)). Conservatives not only maintained control, they strengthened it.

Council Groups

Conservative: 31 Members
Labour: 17 Members
UKIP: 4 Members
Liberal Democrats: 3 Members

Keevil Prediction:
Conservative: 24 Members
Labour: 23 Members
UKIP: 6 Members
Liberal Democrats: 2 Members

Jennings Prediction:
Conservative: 23 Members
Labour: 20 Members
UKIP: 9 Members
Liberal Democrats: 3 Members

Result

Conservative: 36 Members
Labour: 15 Members
UKIP: 4 Members
Lib Dems: 0 members

Predictions Result
Keevil 38 of 55 = 69%
Jennings 39 of 55 = 71%

Thoughts

Even Cllr Rodney Chambers OBE (Conservative leader of the council) admitted to being a little surprised by the result!
None of the councillors who defected to UKIP held their seats! Of the 4 who won, how many were ‘paper candidates’ and will soon do or say something UKIP regrets and find themselves independent councillors before 2019?
Will Catriona Brown-Reckless be the leader of the UKIP Medway group?
Although it was felt it wouldn’t be a good night for the Lib Dems, nobody expected a wipe out. Diana Smith was expected to win on reputation alone. They almost did as well in the wards they didn’t campaign in than in their long held Gillingham roots.
Whilst we felt that Labour would not gain control of the council, we expected them to reach 20 candidates, but in the end they reduced their number, including in Twydall, which has been solid Labour for as long as both authors of this blog can remember!
TUSC were the only small party to stand a candidate in ever ward, well done to them for that. One candidate Paul Dennis in Rainham North, received 0 votes, which is shocking, especially when you consider he lives in the ward and claims he voted for himself. TUSC are currently protesting this with the council. Will TUSC stand again in 2019, or will Left Unity have a go at it?
Chris Irvine, Peninsula councillor, bravely/foolishly stood in Labour held Rochester East. He not only did not win, but came behind former English Democrat Sean Varnham.
Of the 22 wards UKIP stood candidates in 18 of them. Of those they won in 2. Of they remaining 16 wards, they came second in 10!
Paul Monck, UKIP Cuxton parish councillors, is one to watch in 2019.
SDP Mike Walters got move votes for ward councillor than for MP.
UKIP’s average vote share overtook Labour, and Medway Greens average vote share overtook the Liberal Democrats.

5 6 Wards to Watch

Gillingham South
Keevil said: 2 of the 3 current councillors are not standing for reelection. A busy polling card, will see Lib Dems reduced to one councillor, and I wouldn’t put money on that being Goeff Juby! 2 Labour Councillors, 1 of which you would expect to be Khan. A telling ward for the development of the smaller parties.
Jennings said: Labour are throwing the kitchen sink at Gillingham South, as it’s a ward they need to even come close to taking control of the council. They almost managed it in 2011, but if the Lib Dems are ruthless enough in their campaigning, Juby’s name recognition should be enough to help him hang on, but I definitely wouldn’t put any money on it.
Result: 3 Labour
Thoughts: Khan won as predicted, but Juby didn’t. Gillingham now under the watchful eye of Labour. Will Lib Dems return in 2019?

Peninsula
Keevil said: I was preparing to predict 2 UKIP councillors returned by the Penisula word, but with Irvine not standing in the ward, I think it is a big ask for two new UKIP candidates.
Jennings said: Peninsula appears to be very fertile ground for UKIP, with them handily winning the by-election there in November. That said, their most recognisable candidate, Chris Irvine, is attempting to move wards, so they face a slightly tougher battle here, but they should at least be able to defeat the two new Conservative faces.
Result: 1 Conservative, 2 UKIP
Thoughts: Cllr Filmer held his seat and UKIP added to their by-election result. A ward to watch over the next 4 years!

Princes Park
Keevil said: Seems a site for an actual contest. Current Councillor Pat Gulvin not standing for the seat currently held, adds to the interest in this ward and a seat changing to Labour.
Jennings said: A curious ward where both sitting councillors are standing down, with both Conservatives and Labour putting forward serious candidates. I’d be inclined to say Labour can take both seats, but the Conservatives are putting forward respected former councillor Tashi Bhutia, a split ward appears to be looming.
Result: 2 Conservative
Thoughts: Not only did the Conservatives take the ward by a good margin, Labour didn’t even come 2nd!

Rochester East
Keevil said: To turn half purple! This is based on no rational look at the numbers. Only that the UKIP group leader has given up the Penisula seat he won with a healthy majority for a strong Labour ward. There MUST be something we don’t know otherwise the UKIP group are in serious trouble.
Jennings said: The most baffling thing about this ward is the decision for Medway UKIP group leader Chris Irvine to stand here. This ward has been safely held by Labour for some time, so to give up a reasonably safe position in Peninsula to stand here is one hell of a gamble. Still, these things aren’t done lightly, so UKIP must be confident that they can win here. If not, the Medway UKIP group could well be thrown into chaos post-election.
Result: 2 Labour
Thoughts: We readily said our prediction at the time was crazy and we were willing to accept we got it wrong. And we did.

Rochester West
Keevil said: I am going to predict a labour seat gain here, but I think Tolhurst will win a #GE2015 bounce which will keep her safe until 2019.
Jennings said: The Conservatives, Labour, and the Greens are all putting forward strong candidates here. Under normal conditions, this ward may well have been a strong contender to go red, but Kelly Tolhurst’s status as PPC, along with the Green’s Clive Gregory taking votes away from Labour, should be enough to see her home here.
Result: 2 Conservative
Thoughts: Cllr Tolhurst MP kept her seat and then some. Labour candidates Garrick and Scudder are two to watch for the future. An increase but still disappointing result for Medway Greens, who will need to re-evaluate their council seat strategy if they are to ever hope to become more then a protest vote locally.

Strood Rural
Keevil said: UKIP are working well in Rochester & Strood and this will lead to seats being held here, and if Mason does hold his seat that will be embarrassing for the Conservatives who deselected him.
Jennings said: The only ward that I’m predicting to go completely UKIP, almost wholly on the name recognition of sitting councillors Mason and Rodberg. They’ll face a tough fight, but they should be able to pull off the clean seat sweep.
Result: 3 Conservative
Thoughts: Sitting councillor recognition came to nothing, and UKIPs experience on the council was wiped out. As was any potential for embarrassment for Cllr Mackness.

See you in 2019.

 

Post #MedwayVotes Analysis

General Election

Chatham & Aylesford

Keevil Prediction:
Conservative win. Medium majority. Greens, Lib Dems, TUSC and Christian People’s Alliance to lose their deposits.
Jennings Prediction:
Conservative win. Medium majority. Greens, Lib Dems, TUSC, and Christian People’s Alliance to lose their deposits.

Result
Increased turnout.
Conservative win with a large majority. Increased vote and vote share.
UKIP gains.
Lib Dems reduced vote.
Greens vote increased.
Lib Dems, Greens, CPA and TUSC lost their deposits.

Thoughts
A victory and re-election for Tracey Crouch which wasn’t nearly as close as we thought it would be, a sign of the election overall.
The Labour result was very disappointing for them given it was a target seat.
UKIP result here was significant, considering they changed candidate late on, who only made his presence known late into the campaign.
Liberal Democrats should focus on clarifying their local party system rather then thinking too much about the result.
Some positive news for Medway Greens where their vote increased into four figures.

Gillingham & Rainham

Keevil Prediction:
Conservative win. Large majority. Greens, TUSC and independent candidates to lose their deposits. Naushabah Khan, Councillor, to stand and do better in 2020.
Jennings Prediction:
Conservative win. Large majority. Greens, TUSC, and independent candidates to lose their deposits.

Result
Turnout similar to 2010.
Conservative win with a large majority, up on 2010.
Labour vote share down on 2010.
UKIP gains.
LibDems failed to break 5% of vote.
Greens vote increased.

Thoughts
Will Naushabah, bruised by a by-election and General Election battle in Rochester & Strood stand again? If so, then the recently elected Councillor for Gillingham South should be Labour’s focus in this constituency.
Did we see the rebirth of the SDP, with Mike Waters? (No, we didn’t – Jennings)
Will TUSC and Left Unity build on this result? Or stand separately in future?

Rochester & Strood

Keevil Prediction:
Conservative win. Small majority. Lib Dems and TUSC to lose their deposits
Jennings Prediction:
UKIP win. Small majority. Lib Dems and TUSC to lose their deposits.

Result
Turnout up on 2010 and by-election.
Reckless vote almost the same as the by-election.
Conservative vote almost the same as 2010.
Labour increased result from by-election, but still below 2010 level.
Greens failed to hit 5% but vote stayed above 1500 from by-election.
Lib Dem result in four figures.
Greens, LibDems and TUSC lost deposits.

Thoughts
Will Mark Reckless stand again, as he has a General Election record of 1 win in 4!
Will Clive Gregory stay as Medway Greens coordinator and presumptive candidate?
Can Labour return to being the second party of Rochester & Strood, let alone win the constituency?
Whilst Lib Dems were being massacred nationally, how did they gain 1,000 votes after the by-election?

Total Medway Vote Share by Party
Conservative: 47.2%
UKIP: 23.7%
Labour: 22.9%
Lib Dems: 3%
Greens: 2.6%

Predictions Result
Keevil 3 for 3
Jennings 2 for 3

See you in 2020.

Local election coverage

Counting is now underway for the Medway Council elections.

We’ll be updating this post with the results as they come in. Our predictions for the results are here, so we’ll see how accurate we were later on.

In the meantime, we’re livetweeting proceedings from the count on @centrewhatsleft (Keevil) and @Ed_Jennings (Jennings).

Current council counts
Conservative – 36 (+5)
Labour – 15 (-2)
UKIP – 4 (-)
Lib Dem – 0 (-3)
TUSC – 0
Green – 0
All seats declared

Candidates Elected
Chatham Central – Paul Godwin (Lab), Vince Maple (Lab), Julie Shaw (Lab)
Cuxton and Halling – Matt Fearn (Con)
Gillingham North – Pat Cooper (Lab), Adam Price (Lab), Andrew Stamp (Lab)
Gillingham South – Clive Johnson (Lab), Naushabah Khan (Lab), Dan McDonald (Lab)
Hempstead and Wigmore – Diane Chambers (Con), Rodney Chambers (Con)
Lordswood and Capstone – Alan Jarrett (Con), David Wildey (Con)
Luton and Wayfield – Sam Craven (Lab), Michael Franklin (Con), Tristan Osborne (Lab)
Peninsula – Roy Freshwater (UKIP), Phil Filmer (Con), Mick Pendergast (UKIP)
Princes Park – Tashi Bhutia (Con), Gloria Opara (Con)
Rainham Central – Rehman Chishti (Con), Barry Kemp (Con), Mike O’Brien (Con)
Rainham North – David Carr (Con), Martin Potter (Con)
Rainham South – Howard Doe (Con), David Royale (Con), Leslie Wicks (Con)
River – Andrew Mackness (Con), Habib Tejan (Con)
Rochester East – Nick Bowler (Lab), Teresa Murray (Lab)
Rochester South and Horsted – Trevor Clarke (Con), Sylvia Griffin (Con), Rupert Turpin (Con)
Rochester West – Kelly Tolhurst (Con), Stuart Tranter (Con)
Strood North – Jane Chitty (Con), Phil Hall (Con), Steve Iles (Con)
Strood Rural – Gary Etheridge (Con), Peter Hicks (Con), John Williams (Con)
Strood South – John Avey (Con), Catriona Brown-Reckless (UKIP), Mark Joy (UKIP)
Twydall – Anne-Claire Howard (Con), Dorte Gilry (Lab), Glyn Griffiths (Lab)
Walderslade – David Brake (Con), Adrian Gulvin (Con)
Watling – Wendy Purdy (Con), Asha Saroy (Con)

Election count coverage

It’s election night and counting for the three Medway constituencies is now taking place.

We’ll be updating the key results here as they come in. They are due in around stupid o’clock.

In the meantime, we’re livetweeting proceedings from the count on @centrewhatsleft (Keevil) and @Ed_Jennings (Jennings).

Rochester & Strood
Conservative 23,142
UKIP 16,009
Labour 10,396
Green 1,516
Lib Dem 1,251
TUSC 202

Gillingham & Rainham
Conservative 22,590
Green 1,133
Labour 12,060
Lib Dem 1,107
TUSC 273
UKIP 9,199

Chatham & Aylesford
Conservative 21,614
CPA 133
Green 1,101
Labour 10,159
Lib Dem 1,360
TUSC 125
UKIP 8,581

A more suitable job for a woman

Part 2 of 2 looking at gender equality in Medway politics. This part looks at the parliamentary candidates, while the previous one looked at the council.

In our previous post, we discovered that gender equality for council candidates is something sorely lacking, and that the council will likely include less women following the election than the small number it already had.

From here, it’s only natural to move onto the parliamentary candidates to see how the parties are doing there. At first glance, it doesn’t look much better, with each constituency looking like this:

Constituencies

Rochester & Strood is definitely the winner here, with half of the candidates standing for the seat being women. This is an improvement over the by-election, where out of the 13 candidates, only 4 were women, and one of those was a sex worker and one was a racist. This in turn is an improvement on 2010, when only one candidate was a woman. Have a gold star, Rochester & Strood!

Sadly, not much has changed in the other two constituencies. In 2010, Gillingham & Rainham only had one female candidate, so little change there, and Chatham & Aylesford actually had two, so there’s been a step backwards in that particular seat.

Still, three seats isn’t necessarily the best sample size for this kind of analysis. Let’s take a look at the individual parties to see if we can learn anything about progress there:
Parties

Overall, the “main” parties aren’t doing too bad when it comes to female candidates. When there’s only three seats, it’s hard to argue that any party standing one or two women isn’t doing enough, so well done to everyone except UKIP and the Greens. One of those seems rather more surprising than the other, but both are in line with how well those parties have done with council representation.

But how many women are actually in a winnable position? Here, again, things aren’t too bad. Tracey Crouch is very likely to retain Chatham & Aylesford, and while the authors of this blog disagree on whether Kelly Tolhurst will win in Rochester & Strood, she is in a strong position to do so. So it’s almost certain than Medway will have one female MP following the election, and quite possible it could have two. Which is a hell of a lot better than it is going to manage at a council level.

Jennings

Dude Where’s My Democracy

Democracy pt 2

As we discussed as part of #iFAQS the Medway Towns and the Hoo Penisula are now a Unitary Authority and not part of Kent County Council. The Council is made up of 22 Wards creating 55 seats. At the time of writing the council is made up of 4 parties, and will likely still be 4 parties after the election, and these 4 parties have an equal say..
I mean unequal say in the running of the Medway Towns.

There are also parish councils but nobody knows what goes on there.

The Council is currently under Conservative Control and has been since 2003, though Keevil and Jennings are both predicting No Overall Control in the 2015 Local Elections.
The council elected Leader of the Council is Cllr Rodney Chambers OBE
The (publically unelected) Mayor is Cllr Barry Kemp
The Leader then appointed a Deputy leader and then upto 9 further members to make up the cabinet.
The Cabinet is responsible for implementing the council’s budget and policies as well as forming partnerships with other key organisations.

The Leader and Cabinet are held to account by Overview and Scrutiny Committees which are made up of Councillors from all the political groups represented on the council.

STATS ALERT

Current Council Councillors

Conservatives 31 = 56%
Labour 17 = 31%
UKIP 4 = 7%
Liberal Democrats 3 = 6%

So the will of the Medway electorate, and the will of the councillors defecting, means that the Conservatives have over 50% of the council, which mean they, with their party whip, can be confident of winning a vote.

Current Council Cabinet

Conservatives 10 = 100%
Labour 0 = 0%
UKIP 0 = 0%
Liberal Democrats 0 = 0%

The cabinet, where significant decisions are made, mirrors this council make up with..
oh wait, no it doesn’t.
The Council is overviewed by 5 scrutiny committees and these largely follow along Council lines.

Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Conservatives 8 = 62%
Labour 4 = 31%
UKIP 0 = 0%
Liberal Democrats 1 = 8%

Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Conservatives 8 = 47%
Labour 4 = 24%
UKIP 1 = 6%
Liberal Democrats 1 = 6%
Non-elected, voting 3 = 18%
Non-elected, non-voting 9 = 0% of vote
Vacancy 2 = 0% of vote

Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Conservatives 7 = 54%
Labour 4  = 31%
UKIP 1 = 8%
Liberal Democrats 1 = 8%
Non-elected, non-voting 3 = 0% of the vote

Regeneration, Community and Culture Committee

Conservatives 6 = 55%
Labour 4=33%
UKIP 1 = 8%
Liberal Democrats 1 = 8%

Joint NHS Scrutiny Committee with Kent County Council

Conservatives 3 = 75%
Labour 1 = 25%
UKIP 0 = 0%
Liberal Democrats 0 = 0%

Each committee has a chair and a vice chair. Which also don’t follow along council lines.

Charing and vice chairing of Scrutiny Committees

Conservative 8 = 100%
Labour 0 = 0%
UKIP 0 = 0%
Liberal Democrats 0 = 0%

This isn’t about being anti-Conservative. This is about being anti-democratic.

This is about a one-party having the ability to dictate policy via a cabinet they fully control, where all oversight is carried out by committees they chair.

Maybe No Overall Control won’t be a bad thing for a while.

Keevil

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman?

Part 1 of a 2 posts looking at gender equality in Medway politics. This part looks at the council and it’s candidate, the second will look at those standing for Parliament.

It’s not necessarily helpful to get too bogged down in demographics or representation, so we’re going to spend an entire post doing just that. Specifically, we’re going to look at the gender divide for councillors and council candidates.

To begin, here is an infographic showing the current composition of the council by gender:

Council ratio

This chart shows that 16 of the 55 current councillors are women. While this is by no means equal, such is the will of the electorate and all that. So long as a roughly equal number of candidates are put forward, we shouldn’t quibble too much about the outcome, should we?

So, how’s that equality in candidates going? About this well:
Candidates

Oh.

In pure numbers, there are a nice round 200 candidates for council seats in Medway. Of those, only 57 are being contested by women.

Now, this article isn’t being written to assign blame to anyone in particular. All parties struggle to find enough candidates to fight council seats (indeed, only Labour and the Conservatives found 55 in Medway), and if women aren’t putting themselves forward, there isn’t a great deal an individual local party can do about it. That said, with our love of graphics, let’s take a look at how well each party has done:

The Conservatives have 13 female candidates out of a full slate of 55, or 24%.

Labour have done slightly better, managing 16 candidates out of 55, a stunning 29%.

The UKIP “vote for change” bus rolls on, with 6 of their 32 candidates not being men, or 19%.

TUSC are the only party to achieve equality in their candidates selections, with 55%, or 12 of their 22 candidates being women.

The Lib Dems are doing okay in this regard, but they only have 18 candidates overall. Of those though, 7, or 39%, are female.

The Green Party have the least gender equal slate of candidates in Medway, with only 2 of their 13 candidates, or 15%, being women.

So where does all this leave you as a voter on the ground in Medway? Well, unless you’re in Twydall or Watling, the only two wards where half the candidates are women, you’re left with a lot of men. This is especially true if you live in Cuxton & Halling or Lordswood & Capstone, where there are precisely no women on the ballot paper. There’s a number of wards where there is only one or two as well, so there’s still a long way to go in the battle for council equality.

Of course, equality in candidates is pretty redundant unless more female selections take place in winnable wards. Using the predictions this blog made for council seats, we calculated how many women are likely to be sitting on Medway council in two weeks time. In the “best case scenario”, we estimate 16 women will be on the council, which is how many are currently there. At the lowest end, we estimate only 9 could take seats. In reality, it’s likely be somewhere in the middle, meaning the next council will be even less equal than the current one, which is quite an achievement.

Jennings

Once Upon a Time in a Medway Constituency

Democracy pt 1

As part of the Vote for Policies test, Jennings held to type the Liberal Democrat, whilst Keevil showed support for Labour’s policies on democracy.

So what Democracy do the residents of the Medway Towns have?

 

Parliamentary Constituencies

As you should be aware, there are 3 Members of Parliament representing Chatham & Aylesford, Gillingham & Rainham, and Rochester & Strood. But it wasn’t always this way!
We have mostly stuck with 1997 as the line in the sand date for this blog, but not anymore..

Chatham & Aylesford
An electorate in 2010 of over 68,000. Half of the constituency is based in Medway and the other half in Kent.
Stay with me..
The Chatham & Aylesford constituency was created in 1997 from parts of the Mid-Kent and Tonbridge & Malling seats. The first incumbent of the newly formed seat was Labour’s Jonathan Shaw who was returned to the seat in the subsequent 2001 and 2005 elections, before the aforementioned boundary changes and Conservative’s Tracey Crouch win in 2010.
Tonbridge & Malling, like Aylesford, is outside of Medway, and therefore outside of our understanding.
The Mid-Kent seat was created in 1983 from parts of the Rochester & Chatham and Maidstone seats. The only winner of the seat was the Conservative’s Andrew Rowe from 1983 to 1992. Rowe won the newly formed Mid-Kent and Faversham seat in 1997, showing that Conservative’s could win seats in 1997. However the seat doesn’t represent Medway, and so like Maidstone, we don’t care. Rochester & Chatham was a parliamentary seat created in the 1950’s from the Chatham Constituency.
The 1950’s and 60’s saw several elections, except for 1959, return the Labour candidate, before 1970 when the constituency was won for the Conservatives by Peggy Fenner, the first polititian, outside of the Prime Minister, that Keevil remembers, which is impressive considering he wasn’t born until 1979. Anyways..
Fenner held the seat, with the exception of the snap election in Oct 84, winning it back in 1979, until the seat was abolished in 1983. Fenner won the newly formed Medway seat in 1983, and we’ll come back to that. Because as the name suggests, it represented Medway.
The Chatham Constituency was created in for the 1832 general election. I think we’ve gone back far enough there! But a clear record of Chatham going back and forth between Labour and the Conservatives doesn’t look like changing, though there’s a good chance that the constituency will.

Tangent Alert

The Government’s plans for boundary review in 2013, which would have reduced the number of seats failed to pass through Parliament. The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act would have cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600, but was opposed as gerrymandering, which we will come back to at a later date.


Rehman Chishti voted very strongly for an equal number of electors per parliamentary constituency.
Tracey Crouch voted very strongly for an equal number of electors per parliamentary constituency.
Mark Reckless voted strongly for an equal number of electors per parliamentary constituency.
So should boundary changes come back up, theres a good chance, should they get re-elected, they would be in favour.

Where were we?

Gillingham & Rainham
Formed in 2010 with an electorate of over 71,000.
The Gillingham & Rainham constituency was formed in 2010 from the Gillingham constituency.
As far as I can tell there were little actual boundary changes. It’s just nice that Rainham got added to the title. It has only had one MP, the Labour Conservative councillor Rehman Chishti, who beat the Labour incumbent Paul Clark.
The Gillingham constituency goes back to the turn of the 20th century. It was mainly Conservative held until, with the exception of the 1945 election, Paul Clark won and held the seat in 1997. Well, that was simple.

Dagenham & Rainham is a constituency that is somewhere else and so shouldn’t be confused.

Rochester & Strood
Created in 2010, with an electorate of over 75,000.
The Rochester & Strood constituency was created from the Medway Constituency in 2010. The seat has been won by Mark Reckless twice, first for the Conservatives in 2010 and again for UKIP in 2014. As if you didn’t know that..
As Naushabah Khan rightly said on the Sunday Politics South East, there have been boundary changes from when Labour held the Medway seat, with Bob Marshall Andrews since 1997. Andrews won the seat from incumbent and previously mentioned, but now Dame, Peggy Fenner, see how this all comes full circle! Here at least there was at least a reason for the name change as it was found to be confusing with the recently formed Medway Unitary Authority, when the constituency covered only part of the authority.
For History bores, the Medway seat previously existed 1885-1918 when it was held by the Conservatives and Rochester has been sending a member to parliament since the 14th Century and the Medway Lib Dems should take heart they held the seat in 1910 so they are due a comeback.

Which seems a slightly mean joke to finish on, but there you go.

Crime and nothingness

As part of the Vote for Policies test, Keevil and Jennings held to type with Keevil supporting the Green Party and Jennings the Liberal Democrat policies on crime.

What does crime mean in Medway and how do those looking to be our elected representatives seek to deal with it?

Medway Council Website

“Medway Council knows that fear of crime prevents many people from doing some of the things which they might do.
This is despite the fact that crime in Medway is actually lower than the England and Wales average
it is clear that for the people of Medway to feel safer crimes such as violence, criminal damage and anti-social behaviour must be dealt with.”

The Councils community safety plan 2013-2016 lists its priorities as
– Tackle drug and alcohol abuse
– Tackle anti-social behaviour and envirocrime
– Reduce reoffending
– Tackle domestic abuse
– Reduce the number of people killed of seriously injured in road traffic collisions.

According the the Kent PPC website, crime in Medway has increased between 2014-2015, as part of an overall increase in Kent.
Anti-Social behaviour has decreased in the same time period, just as there has been an overall reduction in Kent.

According to a study in the Daily Mirror in 2013
Over a six month average of all crimes
the UK average was 6.57 per 100 residents
The Medway average was 5.12  per 100 residents

Supporting the Medway Council statement.

However when violence was considered
the UK average was 1.06 per 100 residents
the Medway average was 1.58 per 100 residents

So whilst overall crime might be lower in Medway, violence, a crime which would would, or the fear of which, would stop people ‘from doing the things which they might do’, a higher then average violent crime rate is part of that.

Violent Crime according to the police is defined as:

Includes offences against the person such as common assaults, Grievous Bodily Harm and sexual offences

According to the Kent Police:
1802 crimes were reported in Medway in Feb 2015
389 were violent
21.58%
River Ward had the highest crime rate with 271 crimes
Gillingham South had the highest violent crime rate with 45 violent crimes
Luton and Wayfield had the highest percentage of violent crimes as percentage of overall crime at 29%

Also, when you looked at crime over a year
River ward had 52.22% of crimes, 1395 in total, where no further action was taken
Gillingham South had 75.57% of crimes, 1367 on total, where no further action was taken
Luton and Wayfield had 75.50% of crimes, 1014 in total, where no further action was taken

No further action includes:

Unable to prosecute suspect
A suspect has been identified but could not be prosecuted for one of a number of reasons, such as: insufficient evidence; the prosecution time limit having expired; the named suspect being below the age of criminal responsibility; the victim or witness is dead or too ill to give evidence; the victim declining or being unable to support the police investigation further; or the person involved has died.

 Medway Averages

No Further Action = 75.58% 
Local Resolution = 1.44%
Caution = 2.81%
Dealt with in Court = 7.54%

Why does such a large proportion of crime result in no action being taken against offenders? Can it be improved and, if so, how?

“The police and the Crown Prosecution Service have to make an assessment of the evidence available, whether it is witness, forensic or even hearsay. In circumstances where there is insufficient evidence, the decision may be taken to focus resources on those offences which are capable of being charged and prosecuted. There might be a number of reasons why no further action was possible. Some cases are just undetectable. However, cases can be reopened if more evidence becomes available.”

So what do our elected or electable representatives have to say on crime or the causes of  crime?

Medway Conservatives – link
There is no mention of crime.

Medway Labour link
There is no mention of crime.

Medway Liberal Democrats link
There is no mention of policies at all.

Medway UKIP
Doesn’t have a website.

Medway Greens – link
No mention of policies

Medway TUSC – link
No mention of crime

Chatham and Aylesford

Tracey Crouch – link
No mention of crime. Which seems churlish considering the wide variety of campaigns mentioned. But still.

Tristan Osborne – link
No mention of crime

Thomas Quinton, John Gobson, Luke Balnave, Ivor Riddle, Ian Wallace 
No dedicated websites

 Gillingham and Rainham

Rehman Chishti – link
There are campaigns relating to driving related offences

Paul Clark – link
Includes a link to Labour national policy on policing

Jacqui Berry – link
No mention of crime

Neil Williams, Roger Peacock, Mike Walters, Paul Chaplin, Mark Hanson
No dedicated websites.

  Rochester and Strood

Mark Reckless – link
No mention of crime
“A cursory search shows five pages of blog posts related to crime on Mark Reckless’s website:
http://markreckless.com/?s=crime

Kelly Tolhurst – link
There is at least a section. Even if it is restricted to alcohol related anti-social behaviour and a lack of police presence.
Because I’m never satisfied.

Naushabah Khan – link
No mention of crime

Clive Cregory – link
No mention of crime

Prue Bray, Dan Burn
No dedicated site

Crime may be lower in Medway then the national average, but it isn’t low. And other then that fact, I got nothing.

Keevil

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