Thanet council will bring in additional security to support toilet cleaning staff this summer.
The pledge comes on the heels of a chaotic day on Margate Main Sands last Friday (June 17) where multiple fights and disturbances broke out on the beach and seafront and several men were arrested.
During 2020 and 2021 Thanet paid for increased, private enforcement officers to deal with antisocial behaviour and littering on the isle’s beaches.
However, this was paid for out of temporary Contain Outbreak Management Funding (COMF) from the government’s Department for Health and Social Care. That funding has now ended.
However, Thanet council says there will be additional security to protect public toilet staff.
A council spokesperson said: “The council will be providing additional security to support our toilet cleansing staff this summer. This will be during weekends and the school holiday period.
“During the 2020 and 2021 summer seasons, local authorities were awarded temporary Contain Outbreak Management Funding (COMF) from the government’s Department for Health and Social Care, to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and support local public health.
“A proportion of this funding was allocated to initiatives in accordance with our Beach Management Plan, to encourage residents and visitors to return to our beaches. Additional security formed part of this plan, along with increased litter collections, seaweed removal, and temporary toilets on some of our most popular beaches.
“Our Beach Management Plan remains in place, though the additional COMF funding is no longer available to supplement and bolster the activities we undertake. Ongoing beach management activity is now funded within the council’s own existing resources.
“The council takes an active role in multi-agency meetings with key partners including Kent Police and British Transport Police, RNLI, Maritime Coastguard Agency, Southeastern and the Multi-agency Task Force.
“The focus of these meetings is on sharing intelligence, coastal safety and tactical responses to managing our coastline during exceptionally busy periods.
“We continue to promote our message to beach users to Respect, Protect and Enjoy our coastline this year.”
Southeastern trains now also has security and stewards in place across multiple stations, including Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs during the weekends and holiday periods,
Town council measures for Broadstairs
In 2020 Broadstairs and St Peter’s Town Council also took the decision to fund private security mainly focused on Viking Bay but also taking in other bays in the town.
Staff from Marc-One and Probe Security provided the extra services. The town council will pay for extra enforcement again this summer and have security and stewards in place for the beaches.
The town council says Broadstairs welcomes thousands of visitors to its beaches every year and is committed to ensuring that everyone has a great time whilst they are here.
Cllr Roy Dexter, Town Mayor, said: “ For the past two years the Town Council has ensured the continued enjoyment of its beaches by employing a private security firm to patrol the town, promenade and beaches. This year it intends to do the same in order to maintain the reputation of the town as a family friendly destination and ensure Broadstairs remains a place which people will return to again and again.”
Extra police patrols were deployed to Margate on Saturday following the previous day’s disturbances.
Police were called initially to reports of youngsters drinking, using laughing gas inhaled from balloons and abusing passers-by. The disruption forced the closure of beach business Kiddies Corner for the day.
They were then called back to a number of large disturbances. A 62-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, a 46-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly and a 38-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure.
Staff at GB Pizza on the seafront were also subjected to abuse and assault from a man who had been drinking.
Dispersal orders were in place at Margate and Broadstairs last week.
Volunteers from Rise Up Clean Up also spent three hours clearing the debris. Seventeen volunteers collected 80 bags of rubbish but say the beach was so disgusting that when they left at 9pm “it still looked like the end of a festival.”