Resident ‘grateful for second Covid lockdown’ due to distress caused by ‘feral gang’ in Ramsgate town

Ramsgate town is within the ward Photo Brian Whitehead

Fighting, drug taking, shouting and intimidation of passers-by has grown to such a level in Ramsgate town that one resident says they were ‘grateful’ when the second national Covid lockdown was announced.

The woman, who does not want to be named for fear of reprisals, says the issues are caused by a large group of ‘feral’ youths aged 12 to 17 who continually gather in the Queen Street and York Street areas, as well as the multi-storey car park.

Issues with anti-social behaviour and crime from youth ‘gangs’ in the town has been a historic problem dating back at least six years with the youngsters changing but the problems remaining constant.

The resident, who has suffered abuse and had her property vandalised in the past, said: “I am so grateful for this second lockdown as it was getting very  bad outside again.

“After the first lockdown I realised how awful and stressful it had been getting. When we were locked down I was able to sit in my lounge and watch TV in peace in the evening at weekends without them running past my front door all the time. I did not have to put up with the stink of weed wafting in any open windows from the car park.

“But I am now making reports again, lots of times every week. It has been the usual large group of 12 to 17 year olds congregating outside the KFC, smoking weed outside and generally behaving like thugs.

“I have reported incidents of a big group of them baiting and having a go at passers by. The second incident they had cornered someone outside the KFC and were hurling abuse at him. It was getting nasty so I called 999. A police officer walked round the corner, likely responding to my first call, and he tried to disperse them.

“They did back off a bit but then they were all around the officer and still hurling abuse at the lone male.

“While I was telling the police control room what was happening a police van and patrol car turned up and most of the group scattered as they usually do.

“ There was also an incident I’m told, which I did not witness, about a month or two ago where there were 40 plus of them armed with scaffold poles going after someone up Effingham Street.

“The other night there were more than 30 of them in the town centre. Police attended and some sort of metal rod was confiscated but I don’t know if anyone was arrested

“Before the police arrived quite a few people were walking in the town and several cars just left the area quickly.

“People are starting to feel threatened again.”

Targeting hot spots

In 2017, 48 hour dispersal orders, patrols targeting ‘hot spots’ and  making passwords necessary to access free wi-fi were put in place to target the antisocial behaviour.

Residents and businesses in the town and seafront had logged hundreds of complaints over vandalism, threats intimidation, drug dealing and nuisance behaviour during an 18 month period.

Regular meeting were arranged by county councillor Karen Constantine between business owners and police to try and combat the problem. But the meetings had to be repeated in 2018 with a fresh outbreak of incidents.

At the time Cllr Constantine said police resources were overstretched and more youth facilities could be part of the solution. Requests for CCTV coverage were also made.

In July 2018 Public Space Protection Orders were enacted for Central Harbour and Margate Central wards. PSPOs prohibit congregating as part of a group of 2 or more for such duration as specified, when directed not to do so by an authorised officer; on the basis that the behaviour is causing or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to others in the locality.

They also prohibit misusing any public space which is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to others and includes a ban on foul or abusive language that it is likely to cause distress and urinating, defecating or spitting in any public place.

A period of calm

In February of this year stop and searches, knife sweeps and the knock-on effects of a dispersal order brought calm to trouble hotspots in Ramsgate town centre.

The incident in January happened in Queen Street

Increased police visibility followed an attack on a 27-year-old man in Queen Street by a gang of teenagers on January 24.

The man, who was kicked, punched and stamped on, suffered injuries including a broken cheekbone.

Businesses and residents in the Queen Street, York Street and Harbour Street areas said they were still being plagued by youngsters intimidating shoppers, fighting, drug dealing and carrying out assaults.

Police action

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Bidmead, from Kent Police, said three teenagers, over the age of 16, have been issued with Community Protection Notices and another is the subject of an Acceptable Behaviour Agreement.

He added: “We are aware of residents’ concerns about antisocial behaviour being committed by a group of young people in Queen Street and York Street, Ramsgate.

“This includes several reports received across October and November which state the group has been shouting amongst each other, verbally abusing members of the public and being a nuisance to shop staff.

“The incidents have mostly taken place on Friday and Saturday evenings and, when reports have been received, officers have attended. The group have always dispersed upon seeing a patrol.

“Our officers in the Thanet Community Safety Unit have identified a number of young people involved and met with them, and their parents, to encourage them to change their behaviour.

“Three teenagers, over the age of 16, have also been issued with Community Protection Notices and another is the subject of an Acceptable Behaviour Agreement, which has been signed by himself and his guardian. Failure to comply with these measures risks arrest and a fine.

“The area is regularly patrolled by officers, who will always seek to take proportionate action when incidents of antisocial behaviour are identified.

“We are also continuing to review the circumstances and are working with partner agencies, including the local council, to prevent further incidents.

“Antisocial behaviour is always committed by a very small group of people but we do not underestimate the disproportionate impact their actions have on the wider community.

“Anyone affected is encouraged to make a report to us via our website, or by calling 101, so we can gain an accurate picture of the issue and determine the most proportionate course of action.”

28 Comments

  1. We have feral gangs In Margate during the day and evening going around intimidating people with insults a lot of our guests from the EU strut about like they are not required to stick to our rules as their is a pandemic about no masks being worn they laugh at people wearing masks there needs to be conversations about that situation.

    • Start fining and prosecuting the parents for their out of control feral kids and they would soon want to know where their kids are and what their kids are up to.

      Crime would virtually disappear overnight if the parents were held accountable for their scumbag kids. Until these waster parents are penalised financially and through the courts they will continue to let their kids get away with murder.

      These young thugs should also be punished more heavily. The majority of the population are sick and tired scum kids getting away with their intimidation and crimes. Softly softly policing clearly doesn’t work.

      • Absolutely agree with the idea of holding parents responsible for the behaviour of their children. If parents cannot/will not discipline their children then society should discipline the parents.

    • There are Covid-19 street wardens walking about during the day not doing much as many non-essential businesses are open that shouldn’t be during the lockdown. They are just being more sneaky about it. These wardens should be going around and educating the youths who are passing the virus about. By being off school they are supposed to be isolating. There is a big problem here which is why if not enforced the virus is just brought straight back in schools when they are allowed back after their 10 or 14 days. Then, a cycle is present that will not end until stronger enforcement occurs. These kids should be isolating if sent home from school. Parents must take responsibility.

      • Kent Resident

        Agree with most of what you said but if you think the covid wardens have any power to educate the youth I think you are living in hope !. They have no power and everyone knows that that’s why TDC dressed them all in black.
        For a start if the point of street wardens is to educate people why are the dressed like a pretend police/military. All muscular and dressed in black, they dont look very approachable, and personally I think it was TDC idea to try and intimidate people.

        Also agree about non essential shops being ‘open’ with click and collect notices on their doors, it’s just away of getting round lockdown.

  2. English people can’t raise children. Truly awful state of affairs in thanet with their criminal kids doing whatever they please. Cops don’t care. Parents don’t care. How do we solve it?

  3. The first sentence of this article surprises me.This sort of behaviour is not what I see when I go to town during the day. Does this resident see and hear it happening during the day? I think it is important not to exaggerate the problem of antisocial behaviour. Doing so only increases people’s anxiety.

    • Are you blind Marva? The town is a festering stink hole of crime and undesirables. I work there and have to spend all day there.

    • Marva, you must walk round wearing horse blinkers.

      Ramsgate is constantly under siege from these feral thugs and their antisocial behaviour . Every single day these thick kids are in the high street and surrounding roads smoking dope, drinking alcohol, shouting and intimidating passers by, threatening shop keepers, throwing and smashing glass bottles and making Ramsgate an unattractive place to bust, work or live.

      All areas of Thanet suffer from these violent out of control simpleton kids but unfortunately Ramsgate seems to suffer more than the rest of Thanet.

  4. “Fighting, drug taking, shouting and intimidation of passers-by has grown to such a level in Ramsgate town” … gives a terrible impression of our town.
    Sure there are problems, as there are in many places.
    Not for one moment do I belittle the alarm of the local resident who Kathy Bailes interviewed. It must be dreadful to be a prisoner in your own home. The response by the police officer was feeble, to say the least.
    But this article does NOT paint a true picture of most of Ramsgate most of the time. Before lockdown I used to go out and about in town, during the day and in the evening, to pubs and restaurants, and never encountered any sort of behaviour I haven’t encountered in other town centres.

  5. Great reporting of this nuisance of anti-social behaviour in the centre of Ramsgate. The history stretches back a long way.
    It must be time to enact another dispersal order on the area, but greater powers need to be put in place if they are going to ever get a grip on this issue. The lack of much timely interference by police on the perpetrators, and when they do are weak just emboldens these youths to commit more problems and crime.

  6. 75% of the people in the town do not have any teeth. You can buy colgate in the pound shop for a pound!! But they would rather buy booze and fags.Ramagate and Margate have gone down hill fast. Its like a scene from Zombie land!! 🧟‍♂️🧟‍♀️

  7. Treat drug abuse, it’s systemic and becoming much worse in thanet over the past years, im talking weed of course but also alcohol, cheap cocaine and even methampethamine in some smaller communities. There needs to be massive outreach in schools and the families of these kids so they can heal from these addictions. Even other workplaces, even hospitals have addicts. I know someone who is in an extremely respectable position, who holds it and is far more successful than us, and is a meth addict. Its insidious and needs to be healed.

    Shaming these kids by calling them stupid is a bit stupid i think. Is it useful? No. Does it demonstrate a lack of empathy? Yes.

    Im not condoning their illegal or even “disruptive” behaviour, but how about we lobby for something useful, such as

    * getting a park that is not in a financially or domestically related area free wifi so that they have somewhere to congregate away from your poor eyes that cant handle the garb of the poverty stricken such as tracksuits or puffy coats

    * teach people about addiction and subsstance abuse and do more as a community to treat it. Less alienation and shaming and more community. The addiction rates in ramsgate are horrific.

    Chronic drinkers abound, how can you blame these kids for not socialising online at home like their peers and hanging out outside instead, repeating the behaviours of their inadvertently neglectful parents?

    If the area was less financially deprived and had better health care and susbtance education, these illegal behaviours and eyesores would stop.

    • It’s obvious from your comments that you do not have to suffer the abuse and intimidation that these feral young thugs dish out in a daily basis to people living and shopping in Ramsgate.

      Perhaps if you was a victim of these vermin you would have a better understanding of the fear these out of control sometimes violent young thugs impose on innocent people.

      It’s hard to have empathy for these vile, unintelligent and yes very stupid young thugs when they choose not to follow the rules that the rest of us live by. It’s hard to feel for them when they are guilty of numerous crimes including shop theft, drug dealing, antisocial behaviour and threatening passerby with violence.

      These young thugs are making innocent peoples lives a living nightmare. Society hasn’t failed these young thugs, it’s the opposite, these young thugs are failing society. Just like their slacker parents, these out of control teenagers need discipline in their lives not more freebies.

      I’m all for second chances but most of these youths have already had 5, 6 , 7 chances to change their behaviour. Most of these selfish yobs are well known to the police and social workers but the softly softly approach taken to these young thugs only empowers them to keep disregarding the laws that the rest of us live by.

      When people are not held accountable for their actions they tend to rebel and push things to the limit. These feral youths are a result of poor parenting, no discipline and a liberal justice system. It’s time to stop defending the vile underbelly of society and start concentrating on the people who contribute to society.

  8. I fear since the anti corporal punishment brigade came along, the thugs and any feral child know they can get away with bad behaviour, so please tell me how banning the the cane or smacking to teach discipline has improved society.

    • Of the 1000s of young people in Ramsgate, only dozen or so cause problems.
      So, without the imposition of shipping, flogging and thrashing, more than 98% of young people manage to behave themselves.
      So please tell me how much additional flogging would be needed to bring the less than 2% into line?
      When we used to chop bits off people deemed to be miscreants, did crime stop?
      No, it didn’t

  9. I didn’t say re introduce corporal punishment, I. was simply asking a question, that some here can’t answer, all I want to know is how can respect, good manners and discipline be re introduced back into society.

    • Unfortunately people are quick to learn their rights but are even quicker to forget their responsibilities.

      Waster parents who should never have been allowed to have offspring have failed in their parental duties. Parents can no longer discipline naughty Children and as such the children have no respect for their parents and no longer fear authority figures, they are no longer afraid of the police and have zero respect all authority. Years of zero discipline and a feeling of self entitlement and an abundance of knowledge of their human rights have resulted in a situation where thug youths are free to roam the streets making others lives unbearable.

      It’s cringeworthy watching parents in supermarkets pleading with their out of control kids to behave. Successive governments and human rights acts have given the power to kids and criminals and eroded away any power the parents and authority figures might have once had.

      We live in an age with a very liberal justice system , passive parents and we have never been entitled to as many rights and freedoms as we do now. How fitting then that in this so called enlightened age society is also regressing with people more hateful , selfish and aggressive towards others than ever. The social justice experiment is clearly not working.

      • Clearly, whatever discipline is left for parents to dish out works for most children, most of the time. Otherwise there would be 100s of children roaming the streets, causing trouble, rather than a dozen or so.
        Still not right, though. We should be able to live in our homes and wall our streets without feeling threatened.
        Blame the Tory government for cutting 22,000 police officers.

        • Andrew, it wouldn’t matter how many police are on the streets. Today’s thuggish youth element simply don’t care, they know that that the police are virtually powerless to stop them. These vile thugs taunt the police because they know there are no serious repercussions anymore. These young criminals are not afraid of ASBOS, they are not afraid of crime prevention orders or written contracts with the police.

          These thug youths are fully aware of their rights and are simply the product of the very liberal second third fourth chance justice system that the uk has blindly legislated itself into. It takes many numerous crimes before prison is even considered. Social justice simply doesn’t work. Prison is not ideal but at least it gets rid of the thugs who make other people’s lives a living hell. The vast majority of people want to see criminals behind bars not left left roaming the streets.

    • I should think nobody could give a definite and simple response to this question. So all you’ll get in a comments column on a newspaper is personal opinions .

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