By Jodie Nesling
Residents plagued by anti-social behaviour have appealed for the district’s Crime Commissioner to intervene after reaching ‘breaking point.’
Anna-Maria Nerelli attended a public meeting in Margate as a representative for the Athelstan Road Tenant’s and Residents Association (ARTRA) and told police chief, Matthew Scott the situation was untenable.
The summer months experienced a rise in on-street drinking and noise including karaoke machines played in the streets, teens smashing bottles and all-night partying keeping families with young children awake and leaving residents with no sleep on week nights.
Anna-Maria, who owns a property in Dalby Square, told the commissioner: “ARTRA residents are at near breaking point with constant partying in the street, lack of sleep and no resolution to this. Not just weekends, often nights in a row.”
Residents complained that phone calls to 101 (non-emergency) have proved unhelpful with no response or visits from police. Call handlers also direct residents to a non-existent ‘out of hours’ Thanet council phone line.
Mr Scott argued it was Thanet council’s responsibility but that he would try and improve communication between agencies and asked for call logs to be sent to him.
Addressing the meeting Mr Scott, who has been in the position for four years, says antisocial behaviour is a priority for the police. He said: “I want to make our community safer but it’s work in progress; dealing with county lines gangs from London and other complex issues.”
Asked by Kent county councillor Barry Lewis whether he had achieved as much as he would have liked the commissioner responded: “To be honest I haven’t but we are making progress.”
Mr Scott, a Conservative member, cited the police cadet scheme as a way of educating young people and improving the relationship between the force and the community. There are plans to roll this out to Thanet after successes in other areas of the county.
Mr Scott says the police are committed to tackling ASB with extra police staff and says 101 calls and an online service had greatly improved the process of reporting crimes. He also stressed that violent crime would always be prioritised.
Police visibility at night time was discussed and Mr Scott agreed to look into a tactic called red routing. This means on a call to a location the police car would travel through areas most affected by ASB and violent crime as a means of deterrent.
Thanet council exercise the power to prohibit anti-social behaviour in designated areas. The areas cover parts of Cliftonville and Ramsgate harbour. They were authorised in 2018 and expire in 2021 and were designed to stop high levels of anti-social behaviour by providing extra powers to Thanet council and the police.