Push for extra resources following crime and policing meetings in Ramsgate

Hate crime meeting at Ramsgate's Salvation Army

Two meetings have been held to discuss crime – including hate offences – and policing in Ramsgate.

Residents in Ramsgate joined Kent Police and other groups at a community engagement event to discuss hate crime and related issues on June 30.

Charity CST (Community Security Trust) joined the force’s Thanet Community Safety Unit at the event at the Salvation Army in the town’s High Street.

Attendees included representatives of various groups, including the Salvation Army, Margate Mosque, Rabbi Cliff Cohen and the mayor of Ramsgate Raushan Ara.

Thanet Community Liaison Officer Daiga Jansone, one of the event’s organisers, said:  “Events like this one allow us to hear from a diverse range of groups and listen to any concerns they may have around safety and crime.

“It is always a pleasure to receive information and work alongside CST, which is a charity dedicated to providing not only the Jewish community, but all faiths and diverse communities, with vital safety advice and guidance on security.

“It was a productive and engaging event that highlighted some important, topical safety items, but also key messages and learning about hate crime, including its complexities and how it can affect communities.”

Mayor of Ramsgate Raushan Ara thanked all of those who attended for their contribution.

She added: “The event was very useful and made it clear that suspicious activity should be reported to police to give them the maximum possible information to act on.

“Thank you to Carl Whitewood, of Ramsgate Salvation Army, for allowing us to use the Salvation Army citadel as a venue and also thank you to those who provided food.”

Ramsgate Town Council policing meeting

The gathering came on the heels of a meeting earlier in June organised by Ramsgate Town Council to discuss crime and policing in the town.

The aim of the meeting was to find out more about how policing and community safety in Ramsgate is currently managed and what resources are available and how this could be improved.

The meeting was chaired by Cllr Steve Albon, and attended by town council members, Samantha Wheatley – senior caseworker attending on behalf of Craig Mackinlay MP; Chief Inspector Matthew Smith; Sergeant Jim Woodward; council leader Ash Ashbee; council officer Jo-Anna Taylor and county councilor Trevor Shonk.

Ch Insp Smith (pictured) told the meeting that at times, officers are required to take arrested persons, or those in mental health crisis, to hospital. The presence of police officers is required due to the powers available to them to detain people in such circumstances. Such duties can impact upon the availability of officers, and at times can be ongoing for several hours.

The use of “My Community Voice” was encouraged and councillors were told that there is a multi-agency meeting solely to discuss crime and safety in Ramsgate that takes place bi-monthly.

It was also confirmed that additional CCTV has been approved for Ramsgate and is waiting installation.

The meeting also heard that when there is a significant / recurring problem police can ‘bid’ for additional resources and that police personnel are also borderless so officers from Dover / Canterbury / Folkestone can respond to emergencies in Ramsgate.

Cllr Albon, Chair of Ramsgate Town Council, said: “Community safety is a long running concern for Ramsgate Town Council, and in April this year I was contacted by various residents who were particularly upset about offences that had happened to them, their families and in the community.

“The Town Council supported my motion to arrange this meeting and I’m pleased with the stakeholders who were able to attend, of course it would have been ideal if the MP had been available, but we thank him for sending a representative.

“This was not intended to be a meeting at which the police were criticised, we are grateful for what the local officers do, and it was interesting to find out how policing is managed.  Of course, more resources are required and hopefully all present will push for more funding and resources at every opportunity.”

Cllr Ashbee added: “Feeling safe is something our residents consistently tell us is important when we ask them what matters most in making Thanet a good place to live. We are working on a number of new campaigns and initiatives through our work with the Thanet Community Safety Partnership to help improve how safe people feel in the district.

“It was a valuable opportunity to attend the meeting hosted by Ramsgate Town Council to be able to share the work that we and other lead agencies are doing but also to explore more ways that we can work together in the future.”

It was agreed that there will be a push for extra policing resources in Ramsgate and ward councillors will attend walkabouts with PCSOs to familiarise themselves with the problems.

The group will meet again in six months’ time.

For more information about hate crime, click here.