Anti-social behaviour in Ramsgate’s Central Harbour ward – which includes the seafront, town centre, Ellington Park and Warre Rec -resulted in 675 complaints to police between October 2019 and October 2020.
Despite lockdown and various covid restrictions being in place across the period police were called on numerous occasions to a mixture of “youth related offending and disorder caused by a cohort of rough sleepers.”
Kent Police say the ward has one of the largest concentrations of anti-social behaviour in Thanet.
The night-time economy with regard to pubs and clubs also plays a part when hospitality is open. Alcohol is the key factor across all elements. In order to demonstrate please find below
Police statistics for ASB calls to the ward from Oct 2019 to Oct 2020:
Oct 2019 – 51 calls
Nov 2019 – 31 calls
Dec 2019 – 35 calls
Jan 2020 – 41 calls
Feb 2020 – 39 calls
Mar 2020 – 40 calls
Apr 2020 – 61 calls
May 2020 – 72 calls
June 2020 – 73 calls
Aug 2020 – 90 calls
Sept 2020 – 71 calls
Oct 2020 – 71 calls
In an objection to a premises licence application for Friends Fish Bar in King Street – which has not been granted by Thanet council – Kent Police said: “The coronavirus pandemic saw much of 2020 in a national lockdown with subsequent local closures. However, the demand upon police in relation to ASB remained high with an increase toward the end of the year.
“Police have taken numerous measures to ‘crack down’ on the behaviour from increased patrolling through to the use of dispersal orders and civil injunctions. Our partners from youth services are also engaged in outreach and diversionary tactics in the area.”
Police say one of the ward’s hotspot trouble areas in Boundary Park, stating: “Boundary Park is a hotspot for youth related ASB. It is a congregation area.”
In November, despite the country being in yet another lockdown, police were forced to issue multiple dispersal orders to troublemakers in Ramsgate in response to a number of reports of the misuse of alcohol, drug taking and criminal damage in the town.
The order also followed numerous complaints from residents and traders about fighting, drug taking, shouting and intimidation of passers-by.
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.
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.
Regular meetings were arranged by county councillor Karen Constantine between business owners and police to try and combat the problem. These had to be repeated in 2018 with a fresh outbreak of incidents.
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.
In February 2020 stop and searches, knife sweeps and the knock-on effects of a dispersal order brought calm to trouble hotspots in Ramsgate town centre.
Increased police visibility followed an attack on a 27-year-old man in Queen Street by a gang of teenagers on January 24.
In January of this year (the latest figures currently available) police responded to 41 anti-social behaviour reports in the ward.
Officers are regularly patrolling the area and anyone affected by nuisance behaviour is encouraged to make a report via the Kent Police website or by calling 101.