A request will be made to use Thanet’s two mobile CCTV cameras in Dane Valley in a bid to crack down on ‘feral’ youths drug dealing and speeding on quad bikes and moped.
Residents at a packed neighbourhood engagement meeting at the Holy Trinity Resource Centre last night (August 15) said the problem of bikes screeching along roads, being driven without licences or tax and being used for drug drop-offs on the estate is “continual.”
Problem hotspots include Dane Valley Road, Dane Valley green, the area around William Avenue and Invicta Road.
One resident said: “You are losing control. What happens when one of these mopeds flying down the road kills a kid? This has been going on every day for nine or ten months now.”
Business owners from Margate said drug-dealing and antisocial behaviour was also an issue for them in the High Street and around Grosvenor Hill.
Police at the meeting admitted youths were evading capture by removing their helmets – leaving officers powerless to pursue them because of the risk of injury.
The ‘at risk’ loophole has hampered police forces across the country. Scotland Yard brought in the ‘at risk’ strategy after IPCC recommendations following the death of moped rider Reece Leon Robinson-Webber, 15, from Streatham.
He was killed in West Norwood, Lambeth during a police chase in August 2008.
Sgt Neil Fuller, of Margate Task Force, said: “They know police will not pursue them for the simple reason that if they come off, or crash, and they are injured there will be an investigation and an outcry from the public.
“Officers are not prepared to take that risk. Officers are perceived to be chasing children and these ‘children’ know that and push the boundaries. If we do pursue they remove their helmets and that’s it, game over.”
Sgt Fuller told the meeting that the best way to combat the issue was to record index numbers and, if known, names and addresses and pass the evidence to police.
Eden Geddes, from the Thanet Safety Partnership, also made a plea for people to help gather evidence by filling in diary sheets, recording nuisance behaviour so his team could begin a process to possibly seize vehicles or get a dispersal zone introduced.
But he revealed the partnership currently operates with just two investigators and one manager.
He added: “I need the eyes and ears of the community to feed back to me to allow me to do my job effectively.”
Margate councillor Iris Johnston suggested use of the two redeployable cameras in response to requests for the community to provide evidence.
She said: “Several years ago two mobile cameras were introduced at TDC, can they not be put up for a period of time? It keeps being linked back to the public to be responsible for monitoring but we should not have to do that, the public should not be asked to do a job that someone else is being paid for.”
Mr Geddes said he would take the request back to Thanet council.
Target the offenders
Dane Valley councillor Gary Hillman said crime in the ward was rife, quoting statistics which reveal 79% of reports between May 2016-April 2017 resulted in no further action.
He added: “We know who these people are (on the quad bikes). Why are they not being targeted?”
Sgt Fuller promised to look at what resources could be made available for the area.
Kent Police crime reports for May 2017 in Margate
Total reports 43
Violence/sexual offences 9
Antisocial behaviour (Asb) 8
Criminal damage/arson 8
Public order 3
Theft from person 1
Vehicle crime 4
Total reports 180
Violence/sexual offences 75
Antisocial behaviour (Asb) 45
Criminal damage/arson 10
‘Other crime’ 1
Possession of weapons 2
Public order 12
Theft from person 1
Vehicle crime 2
Total reports 105
Violence/sexual offences 45
Criminal damage/arson 9
‘Other crime’ 5
Public order 2
Vehicle crime 6
Total reports 251
Violence/sexual offences 82
Bike theft 2
Criminal damage/arson 21
‘Other crime’ 3
Public order 15
Theft from person 2
Vehicle crime 3
Thanet Community Safety Partnership report – 1 May-July 31 for Margate
1,836 on street parking fines
328 off street
386 Kingdom fixed penalty notices
Antisocial behaviour complaints – 218 new cases compared to 137 for the same period last year