Police use dispersal powers in Thanet as bid to halt spread of coronavirus continues

A group moved on from the steps in Margate (Photo Thanet Police)

Police have dispersed a gathering in Margate and sent away a woman and child who had been sitting on the beach in Ramsgate today (April 7) during routine patrols across the isle.

Officers are enforcing government social distancing instructions in a bid the slow the spread of coronavirus.

Six fines have been issued to people in Kent through new legislation introduced under the Coronavirus Act. This gives police the ability to fine or arrest people who fail to comply with the Government’s directions to stay at home, an enforcement tactic which will only be used as a last resort in Kent.

None of the fines have been issued in Thanet.

Mum and child advised to move on from the beach

Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix said: “As part of their routine patrolling across the county, Kent Police officers are engaging with individuals and businesses to ensure they are adhering to the Government’s instructions around social distancing.

“Officers are engaging with those going against the instructions, explaining why they are necessary and encouraging them to comply, with enforcement being used only as a last resort. As of Monday 6 April 2020 a total of six fines have been issued.

“I would like to thank the vast majority of people in Kent for continuing to play their part at this difficult time by staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.”

During last weekend police patrols in Thane reported most people were complying with the instruction to stay at home and the majority of the beaches were empty. One group was dispersed from the Margate steps.

However there has been some frustration over reports being made of constant gatherings that are not dispersed.

Athelstan Road Tenants and Residents Association says nine reports have been made over a lack of social distancing on the Cliftonville road.

In a letter to police and councillors ARTRA states: “The public health time bomb resulting from the ongoing daily behaviour on Athelstan Road, cannot be overstated and it is disturbing that my previous attempts to communicate with the police and ward councillors has, with the exception of KCC Cllr Barry Lewis, so far been effectively ignored -absolutely no rudeness intended – en masse.

“Indefinite inaction simply isn’t an option – the modest ICU capacity at QEQM cannot hope to ventilate those contracting and spreading COVID-19 on Athelstan Road, and onto the wider community – at times gatherings are so large the pavement is actually impassible. Sizeable groups are congregating by the car wash on the corner of Northdown Road and Athelstan Road, accompanied by children playing unsupervised on the street all day, everyday, sometimes in the company of teenagers – upsetting those families, young children and teenagers respectfully observing the lockdown.”

Current government instructions are to only leave your home for:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

According to government figures as of 9am today ( April 7), 213,181 people have been tested, of whom 55,242 tested positive. Today’s figure for people tested does not include Manchester and Leeds due to a data processing delay. The tests concluded figure excludes data from Northern Ireland.

The number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus symptoms now stands at 18,589.

As of 5pm on 6 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 6,159 have died.The figures only account for deaths in hospital.

In Kent and Medway 1,119 people have tested positive for the virus. There have been 37 deaths in East Kent Hospitals to date.

Those battling the virus include Prime Minister Boris Johnson who has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London since Sunday, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus.

The Prime Minister was moved to intensive care yesterday (April 6) after his condition worsened. He remained stable overnight and is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any assistance. He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.

The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary.

Primary care ‘hot site’ at Whitstable

Changes in the way GP surgeries are run are now being rolled out across Kent and Medway to ensure the safety of staff and patients during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Each primary care network – which are groups of GP surgeries in the same area working together – will be splitting patient care across different sites, meaning the normal primary care needs of patients who have Covid-19 symptoms can be met in a primary care treatment centre, while other premises will aim to remain virus free.

Patients will be referred to a primary care treatment centre, known as a ‘hot site’, by their GP or via NHS 111; they are not testing centres or a walk-in service.

Although as many patients as possible will be assessed via video and telephone appointments, which will avoid unnecessary risk and travel, there will be occasions when people need to see a clinician face-to-face and the aim of these centres if to assess this cohort of patients.

A hot site with drive through facilities is currently being constructed at Estuary View medical centre in Whistable is hoped to be operational by the end of this week.

The aim is to assess and treat patients who have Covid-19 symptoms, such as a persistent cough or a temperature over 37.8 degrees, in a safe setting and ensure patients without symptoms can be seen at the other sites with a minimal risk of infection.

CCG teams are now working with primary care networks to ensure the proposed hot sites meet NHS guidelines, can deliver safe services and that appropriate infection prevention and control measures are in place for patients and staff. Methods of prescribing are also being explored to minimise potentially infectious patients having to visit pharmacies.


  1. The police need to visit King George park in Ramsgate. Gangs of youths are still meeting up in large groups in the evenings and smoking joints and drinking alcohol. These same idiots also then throw the glass bottles into the bushes more often than not smashing them.

    These selfish fools just don’t care about anyone other than themselves. Their parents need to be fined, perhaps then they would start acting like parents and start controlling their scum kids.

    • Have you reported them to the police? If they don’t know how can they do anything about it? Try calling 101, they can advise.

  2. All day groups of people are on Athelstan road, when will the police, police this road? Get these idiots indoors!

    • Not going to happen, Athelstan road is an alternative universe populated largely by those who have no intention of doing anything other than what they want. But fear not they’ll be quick to access the nhs if they want it.

  3. Sorry but I’m confused. A mum and her small child moved on from sitting alone on an isolated beach? I take my small children to the seafront each day to get their exercise as we only live a 5 minute walk away in the town centre. Our only other option is a stroll around the town but that’s not as safe for the children as we’re coming into contact with more people going to the post office or pharmacy. Kids desperately need exercise for their mental health and we don’t have the luxury of a garden. I just hope the police don’t move me on when I’m not harming anyone, and we’re keeping our distance. We probably look like we’re day trippers but this is our back garden so if you see us playing ball please don’t judge. There’s a difference between people sunbathing all day and simply resting on a beach with a small child before you turn back for home. Surely that’s an example of the police alienating people through over-use of their powers of dispersal?

    • I agree Ramsgate Mum! I saw two police officers in Ramsgate High Street the other day (wow!), chatting to a couple of youngish people as they stood idly in the doorway of Poundland 2 meters apart, no one seemed to be doing anything wrong. There is a need for people, especially very young children to get a bit of sunshine, or we may see a return of Ricketts! Heavy handed policing is unnecessary, so get a bit of fresh air with your kids, as long as you don’t form a group with other mums! PS Holland & Barrett sell vitamin D tablets, if you can’t get any sunshine!

  4. All dogs being taken out for walks in public should now only be on short leads, wherever they are. If small children can’t have a few minutes’ play on the beach next to their parents then it’s not fair to let dogs run about there.

    • People are quite rightly taking every precaution to help prevent the spread of C19: staying home unless absolutely necessary, scrupulously hand washing and maintaining social distancing.
      But what’s the point in staying at least 2m away from others if your dog runs up to a stranger, and that stranger pats and strokes your dog, in the way that people do?
      Although there is no convincing evidence that you can catch C19 from your pet, there’s plenty of evidence that the virus can stay viable on some surfaces for hours.
      It the stranger who petted your dog has the virus, then your dog has inadvertently bridged the 2m gap, and potentially put you and your family and anyone else that pats your dog, at risk.

    • Marva, having read previous comments on previous articles You have posted it’s obvious you are a dog hater with zero empathy towards dogs. People with zero empathy towards animals are rarely nice people.

      • It’s not a question of empathy or not towards dogs, nor if someone is nice or not.
        It’s all to do with social distancing, and how a dog scampering between people who are otherwise two or more yards apart has the capacity to defeat the object of social distancing.

        • Tony, I have dealt with Marva in numerous occasions and the lady clearly hates mans best friend. Have a look back on previous threads and it’s plain that she has an agenda against dogs.

          Read what she has stated earlier, she wants to ban dogs off leads not because they are a risk of coronavirus but because it’s “unfair on the children “

          Marva’s liberal ideology makes her all too willing to defend the indefensible when it comes comes to kids and teenagers antisocial behaviour and kids violently attacking innocent people, And then in the next breath launch a vitriolic attack on mans best friend for no good reason.

        • Tony, in today’s news on the BBC, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove the head doctor in charge of the World Health Organisation emerging diseases unit “ No evidence pets can infect people or pass on the virus to humans “

          The anti pet brigade can put down their pitch forks and stop with the misinformation and fake news, the experts have spoken.

          • Perhaps Concerned could stop using emotive vocabulary and reading things into people’s postings which are not actually there. I am fed up with being picked on by this pseudonymous person.

          • This from the PDSA:
            “Can I still take my dog out for a walk?

            Yes, latest Government guidance allows for one walk per day for each person, as long as social distance is maintained between people and dogs. If two adults live in the same home, then they could each walk the dog separately, ensuring the dog gets two walks a day. You must practice social distancing though, and keep at least two metres away from other people. Keep your dog on a lead around others and in public places and thoroughly wash your hands before leaving, and as soon as you get home again.”
            Seems pretty clear. Keep yourself, and your dog, at least 2m from others.

      • I do not hate dogs but I don’t know how much empathy I have towards animals. I have never thought about it, actually.

        • Left a few words out at 5.09 pm. It should read “Concerned, unless he or she knows me personally, has never had any dealings with me.”

          • Well said Marva, I am an animal lover, I have worked as a volunteer for animal charities, and donate every month to others! Yet I am not a dog lover! They are allowed by their owners to foul the pavements with their excrement, and I do not want to be licked by someone’s dog, which a few minutes earlier was licking its genitals, or anus!

            I do not understand why people pay extortionate amounts of money to buy a dog breed, many of which may have been bred in unlicensed puppy farms! If people think they want a dog, they should first try a dog rescue centre, or dog quarantine kennels, where there are plenty of abandoned dogs there! Secondly, if they have never had a dog before, take lessons, because the vast majority of dog owners haven’t a clue how to look after a dog. And do not let it jump up on strangers! Everyone should wash their hands after a touching a dog, Uuugh!

  5. Athelstan road, its a minority of people causing the problem, but the issue is the police and Thanet council allow it. The majority of residents are fed up with lack of action by authorities. Enforcement of the law is the real solution to the anti social behaviour of the few residents who think the law does not apply to them.

  6. The same groups of people are constantly moved on in the Cliftonville Oval area and promenade. Is it ignorance or a total disregard to others. The police are doing their best but as soon as they leave within minutes the people causing the problem are back.

  7. Some people are not taking this seriously, on my way to buy food yesterday I saw four people at a bus stop sitting/standing virtually right on top of each other inside the little shelter-I highly doubt they all lived in the same household either. On the way back I saw a pregnant shop worker standing less than a foot away from what looked like a Westwood Cross patroller, then she moved in even closer, again I highly doubt they are a couple living together. Thankfully the supermarkets are finally banning these idiot couples who decide they have to shop together & often have been dragging their screaming kids in with them, one stays home with the children & the other shops & it lessen all our risk.

  8. We have ‘sunbathing police’ now? It seems from reading earlier comments said officers should have been in Athelstan Road…

  9. Does anyone know if the Travellers are still in Dreamland car park or the Lido? I wonder what is being done to ensure they are complying with the restrictions on essential trips and not mixing with other households

    • The group from the Lido moved on on last few days, but given the amount of time they were there , it must be assumed some sort of agreement had been reached with the carpark owners / council.

  10. The police take the easy option. A police van and car in westgate yesterday on the front. They can’t be bothered to get involved with Athelstan road and especially not with the travellers. Too much like hard work.
    Can’t blame them. Easier to move sunbathers on.

  11. Today the car wash at the corner of Athelstan road has REOPENED. Why is this an essential service?

  12. Oh dear, it’s becoming clearer by the day, we need to have a complete lockdown as they have done in both Italy and Spain. We have a section of society and I have to tell you it’s mainly 18/30s that have all of a sudden become health freaks and spend most of their time walking, jogging, driving their cars. We’ve got people going past our home who we’ve never seen before. If you must have your daily fix/excersice do it where you live you dimwits. Saw a mum pull up in her car and with her teenage daughter promptly put on their backpacks and headed for the beach. I despair!!

  13. With regard to the Athelstan Rd car wash reopening, I’m afraid these people do not live by our rules. Police are constantly moving on the groups of these same people everyday in Cliftonville. Why should our NHS be put at risk when these people end up in hospital expecting treatment they don’t deserve

  14. Why don’t the police do something about the cars parked at Botany Bay car park whilst their owners enjoy the beach. Essential travel flouting again.

  15. Belmont Road, Broadstairs. Everyday 2 children who reside in my street play out side in the area outside their home which is less than 2 meters wide, despite having a rear garden. Pedestrian have to cross the street to avoid them. The rules are for everyone to follow, even if there is no body for miles around. we have to ALL do this together, all following the rules. Its not okay for people to think if nobody is around its okay to sit on the park bench, beach etc we will not beat this deadly virus if everyone does or thinks like this.

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