Labour calls for more police resources to deal with ‘anarchy’ on Thanet streets

PUBLISHED: 10:52 11 September 2017

Two meetings that will discuss policing in the borough will be held tonight. Picture: GaryOKane

Two meetings that will discuss policing in the borough will be held tonight. Picture: GaryOKane

Gary O'Kane

Business owners and residents are growing concerned by low-level anti-social crime

Labour councillors in Thanet are calling for more resources to deal with “anarchy” on the district’s streets.

Business owners and residents have complained to the members on both Thanet District Council and Kent County Council about a growing impact of low-level anti-social crime.

This ranges from street fights, rogue traders and petty thefts to night-time economy crimes and drunken behaviour, with many local people claiming they feel unsafe and want a more visible police presence.

Complaints brought to the attention of the councillors include scooters causing a disturbance and groups of youths hanging around, to violent disagreements between neighbours, anti-social behaviour outside homes, takeaways and public houses and in other public spaces and even theft of food from the elderly.

During a recent briefing to Thanet district councillors from DCI superintendent Andrew Pritchard, it was noted that serious crime is being tackled well by specialist officers, but DCI Pritchard said he had only so much resource “pie” to go around and could not tackle everything.

Councillor Karen Constantine asked if the imposed cuts of 13 per cent fewer police officers and eight per cent fewer PCSOs between 2010 and 2016 had had a negative impact, to which DCI Pritchard acknowledged his budget was “fragile” and said he would welcome more dedicated officer support so he could “slice the cake in the most effective way”.

DCI Pritchard also explained that about 20 per cent of police time is spent dealing with people with mental health issues.

Labour group leader Jenny Matterface said: “Thanet has high levels of deprivation and high levels of mental health issues.

“We need resources not only to deal with this but also to take preventative steps. Early intervention is vital.”

The Labour councillors are writing to local MPs Roger Gale and Craig Mackinlay to urge the government to allocate more police resource to Thanet.

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