Kent Police beat officers will be assigned to every ward in Thanet following changes to the way the force operates from next month.
Speaking at a meeting organised by Cllr Raushan Ara with Ramsgate traders and licensees yesterday (May 11) Thanet District Commander Ian Swallow said a new policing model comes into effect on June 7.
The changes come as the number of PCSOs in Kent drop from around 300 to 100 in a cost-cutting measure. However, a new focus on neighbourhood policing means each of the 23 Thanet wards will have a dedicated Police Constable.
Ch Insp Ian Swallow said: “On June 7th we move to a new policing model and the neighbourhood policing team uplift will be spread over a period of time. There will be extra beat officers in all the wards.
“We will be 50-60% established on day one with 14 (beat) police officers. By the following year we hope to achieve full uplift.”
The model also includes an additional neighbourhood task force for the isle and a new ‘child centred’ policing team. There will also be changes to licensing with beat officers dealing with day to day issues and a team centralised in Maidstone concentrating on areas such as reviews and temporary event notices.
Ch Insp Swallow acknowledged Ramsgate is currently the centre of the isle’s night time economy – although Margate is likely to take that spot in the Summer due to the number of large events planned at Dreamland.
He said extra resources were brought in last month following a series of violent incidents involving weapons.
But, he added: “We are acutely aware of the incidents that happened last month and the month before for 2-3 weekends in a row. There were significant issues in Ramsgate, we are aware of that. But they were very unique events. They were not linked to anything in relation to the night time economy or local residents coming out fighting, they were specific events with known individuals..
“We made arrests, charged them and have taken them off the street.”
He added that although Thanet has higher violence and vunerability rates than Medway and Maidstone, figures compared nationally show “it is a safe place to work and a safe place to live.”
Ch Insp Swallow and Inspector Jim Woodward, who also attended the traders’ meeting, said the plan was to focus on incidents that affect every day life, from antisocial behaviour and nuisance youths to street drinking and issues in the evenings.
He added: “Margate Central, Cliftonville and Ramsgate (town) are priority areas in terms of deploying troops and getting officers on the ground.”
He said the district can also ‘bid’ for county resources when there are specific issues that need extra resources.
He said: “We can bid for, and get, county resources where there’s an issue to balloon that resourcing in the district. We have done that for the last month and over the summer months we will continue to do that and bring extra police officers here.”
Ch Insp Swallow also told the gathering that Ramsgate was the town with the least problems last summer with Margate worst affected and then Broadstairs.
Schemes to keep people safe
Also highlighted was the Best Bar None scheme which has been rolled out in Ramsgate and rates venues for safety and quality of service; the Ask Angela/Andrew scheme which any person feeling unsafe can ask bar staff for and they will then contact police and the “My night out” app from Thanet Community Safety Partnership showing where the safe spaces are, the best lit streets and direct access to taxi companies as well as online links to the Police and other emergency services.
A scheme similar to Best Bar None is also planned for taxi companies.
Traders at the meeting raised some concerns regarding street drinking in Charlotte Court, nuisance behaviour from youths and drug dealing near Ramsgate’s police shop but agreed the town had not suffered serious incidents over the bank holiday period.