Tunbridge Wells police clamp down on antisocial behaviour

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Police will be monitoring the town centre for antisocial behaviour

Two teenagers have been arrested and charged as local police clamp down on antisocial behaviour in Tunbridge Wells.

The boys were detained following allegations that residents at an address in High Brooms had been assaulted and subjected to threats of violence made in an unprovoked incident on the evening of Monday, May 29.

Enquiries by local officers led to the suspects, both 13, being arrested in the early hours of Wednesday June 7.

They were charged with public order and assault offences and one of the boys was remanded to court the following day.

They were also charged in connection with an unrelated theft from a town centre restaurant. Both are currently bailed to attend Medway Magistrates’ Court in July.

The arrest follows a report in the Times on May 17 outlining concerns around the rise of antisocial behaviour in the town.

Over the coming months, enhanced patrols will continue to target crime hotspots in Tunbridge Wells in actions aimed at reducing antisocial behaviour and offences including shop thefts, assaults and criminal damage.

Officers from the Community Safety Unit have identified areas of concern, including parks and other locations near St John’s Road, as well as in the town centre, which will see a greater police presence.

The crackdown is being supported by partner agencies, including social services and housing teams, schools, and the Kent and Medway Violence Reduction Unit.

District Commander for Tunbridge Wells, Chief Inspector Stuart Paul, said: “Anti-social behaviour can have a massive impact on people’s lives, and while some crimes may appear to be low-level, it is important that offenders, no matter how young they may be, realise they cannot continue without fear of consequence.

“We are aware of a number of ongoing issues in parts of Tunbridge Wells, which we believe are being caused by a very small minority of young people.

“Our officers and PCSOs are walking the local parks and streets to deter and disrupt those responsible. We are also engaging with local businesses to reduce problems at premises, including shops and fast-food takeaways,” Mr Paul added.

“Whilst we remain determined to prosecute those who are committing crime, it is equally important to interact with young people to make them feel safe and supported. They may be victims of violence and other serious issues themselves, and it is crucial they are aware of support which is available from police and our partners.”

The drive to reduce antisocial behaviour in Tunbridge Wells coincides with the Force’s Safer Summer initiative, which has a focus around violent crime, antisocial behaviour and road safety and sees
officers taking part in a range of operations to help tackle issues affecting their communities.

Planned activities include high-visibility patrols in crime and antisocial behaviour hotspots, road checks to identify speeding and other traffic offences, and walk-and-talk events for women and girls in particular, to share their views on how they can be helped to feel safer.

The Safer Summer initiative also comes at a time when the force has launched its new neighbourhood policing model, with a larger Rural Task Force, the introduction of child-centred policing teams, and a renewed focus on community beat officers, which will be the operational focus of the force’s own Neighbourhood Policing Week, from Monday 19 June.

Superintendent Pete Steenhuis, Head of Prevention at Kent Police, said: “Keeping people safe is a year-round priority for Kent Police, but the longer days and warmer weather of the summer months can often lead to increases in crime and antisocial behaviour that require a specific focus from us to tackle.

“We fully appreciate the impact crime and antisocial behaviour has on people’s quality of life and want to address the issues that matter most to them.”

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