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Spike in number of care leavers in custody

Ciaran Duggan

Local Democracy Reporter

Concerns have been raised over the influence of gangs on children in Kent, after a spike in custody rates.

Kent County Council’s corporate parenting panel met on Tuesday to discuss a KCC report which revealed two-thirds of juveniles formerly in the care of the authority had been sentenced to custody last year.

A council officer told the committee that measures have been introduced to rehabilitate young people who have been sent to the county’s two youth detention centres, including Medway’s STC and Cookham Wood, in Sir Evelyn Road, Rochester.

Juveniles have each been allocated a youth justice worker and telephones have been installed in their rooms to allow them to maintain links with family members and close friends.

The youngsters are also expected to receive 25 hours of education a week whilst in custody.

'Alarming' rise in youth unemployment

Ciaran Duggan

Local Democracy Reporter

The rise of youth unemployment in Kent over the past 14 months has been described as “alarming”.

Kent has jumped above the national average for young adults, aged between 18 and 24, who are out of work.

Former leader of Kent County Council’s Liberal Democrats, Trudy Dean, revealed that 2.8% of the county’s youth population were unemployed in July 2018 but 12 months on that has risen to 3.9%.

She described the increase as “alarming” while KCC’s cabinet member for education, Councillor Roger Gough, admitted he was equally concerned before stressing the council is undertaking several measures to counter this.

The council was told that Kent’s economically deprived areas have the highest amounts of youth unemployment, including Thanet (8.1%), Swale (6.2%) and Dover (6.1%).

The national average is 3.8%.

School places delayed for disabled children

Ciaran Duggan

Local Democracy Reporter

Disabled children living in Kent remain at “severe risk” of school placement delays, a report reveals.

A total of 25 youngsters, in the care of Kent County Council, are still waiting to be transferred to a school that suits their educational needs despite having an education, health and care plan (EHCP).

Six of these children have remained without “suitable education” since February 2018.

County Hall in Maidstone

The latest figures were released as part of a Kent County Council report that was published on 10 September ahead of next week’s corporate parental meeting on 17 September.

Councillor Roger Gough
Kent County Council
Kent county councillor, Roger Gough (Con), cabinet member for education, said the delays were a “major concern” but remains hopeful that improvements will be made.

In February 2018, a total of 42 disabled children with EHCPs were waiting to be transferred to a school which suited their educational needs.

That number has dropped to 25 in June this year — a 40% decrease.

Motorcyclist seriously hurt in crash

Guy Bell

A motorcyclist is in a serious condition following a crash in Frittenden, Kent.

The crash, involving a black Yamaha motorcycle and a black Renault Laguna, took place on the A229 Cranbrook Road near Knox Bridge at around 15:15 BST on Sunday.

The motorcyclist was taken to a London Hospital.

WWII evacuee returns to wartime home
Londoner Roger Calver takes a trip back to Kent were he was sent as a child evacuee.

Oliver and Olivia most popular baby names

In the South East, Oliver and Olivia have been revealed as the most popular baby names.

The figures are from 2018 and some believe the show Peaky Blinders has been an inspiration behind many of the choices.

Chart of most popular boys names in the South East of England in 2018
Chart of most popular girls names in the South East of England in 2018

Today's South East news website headlines

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The Argus: A man who once claimed to be the youngest father in Britain narrowly escaped jail after a drunken rampage

Kent Online: Indian restaurant turned back into pub after £1.1m transformation

Get Surrey: Tandridge council puts up six foot fence to protect Hurst Green 72-year-old from 'spoilt brats'

Chichester Observer: Council seeks clarity over 'key issues' in emerging plans for 1,000 homes

Eastbourne Herald: A Hailsham man has been sentenced for defrauding East Sussex County Council

Crawley and Horley Observer: ‘Huge drugs bust’ at Gatwick Airport turns out to be vegan cake ingredients

Worthing Herald: Community rallies around Ashurst beautician who lost everything in car theft

Mid Sussex Times: Motorcyclist seriously injured in Ditchling collision

Brighton and Hove News: Brighton bakery to host Facebook pop-up café for free privacy checks

Hastings Observer: A 16-year-old has been charged with intent to supply heroin and crack cocaine in Hastings, and having a knife in public

Brighton and Hove Independent: Shoreham Airport bought by global aviation company

Man released in fatal stabbing investigation

Guy Bell

Andre Bent
Kent Police

A fifth man arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing of a man in Maidstone has been released on bail.

Andre Bent, from Lambeth, London, was stabbed to death in Maidstone town centre at about 03:00 BST on Sunday.

Four men have been charged with violent disorder and are due to appear at Maidstone Crown Court.

The fifth man, a 23-year-old from London, was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and perverting the course of justice. He has been released on bail.

Kent Police said it has recovered two knives from the scene of the attack.