Last week Greg took part in a crunch meeting held to halt the wave of anti-social behaviour that has affected Tunbridge Wells and surrounding areas this year. The meeting was triggered by Greg exercising powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2014.
The organisations that met were Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s Community Safety Unit, Kent Police, the Safer Town Partnership, Town & Country Housing, the CCTV Partnership, Kent Youth Justice and Kent County Council Education Department.
The meeting accepted Greg’s case that the Borough had been suffering from an unusually high level of anti-social behaviour. It identified the cause as being a number of groups of young people who, in combination, had committed acts of intimidation, criminal damage, theft and assaults throughout the last six months. What is particularly notable about this outbreak is that the perpetrators are younger than typical offenders – mostly 12 to 16 year olds - and include girls as well as boys, and operate during daytime hours more than at night.
The meeting heard from Kent Police representatives that more officers are in the process of being recruited and deployed on beat duty in Tunbridge Wells, with a beat team of 12 officers being formed. In addition, a Child-Centred Policing team, consisting of 2 PCs and 2 PCSOs, will, from December, have direct contact with named schools, and particular children and their families, who are at risk of being drawn into crime.
Participants agreed that an action plan would be jointly produced including consideration by the Borough Council of uses of its powers such as allowing Enforcement Officers to gather evidence from body-worn cameras and to issue fixed penalty notices for anti-social behaviour. A further session with Social Services will be held to improve the co-ordination between agencies about children engaging in anti-social behaviour.
The group will be reconvened in January to assess progress.
Speaking after the meeting Greg said:
“I was pleased that my use of the Community Trigger has had a galvanising effect. All the agencies agreed that the problem of anti-social behaviour has surged this year and needs to be gripped. Some immediate actions are already underway – such as the increase in police numbers. But it was accepted by all that many more measures can be taken to stop this wave of disorder, to turn the situation around and to make sure it does not happen again.”