Mar­shals to tackle town yobs

Night ‘drunk’ pa­trols ex­tended to day

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - by Alan Smith aj­smith@thek­m­group.co.uk @aj­smithKM

No-go ar­eas plagued by drunks and an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour will be tar­geted in a new drive to clean up the County Town. A crack team of mar­shals have been re­cruited to keep the peace in pub­lic spa­ces in­clud­ing Ju­bilee Square and Brench­ley Gar­dens.

The four-strong group will be po­lice trained and will be on pa­trol from noon to 5pm, which has been iden­ti­fied as a prob­lem time. It is the idea of One Maid­stone, which aims to en­cour­age busi­ness, and hopes to re­as­sure shop­pers and vis­i­tors the town is a safe and nice place to be.

The move fol­lows suc­cess­ful tri­als of late-night war­dens, who have track records in calm­ing volatile, booze-fu­elled sit­u­a­tions.

Maid­stone plans to get tough with crime and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in or­der to re­as­sure shop­pers and vis­i­tors to the town cen­tre.

An ini­tia­tive from One Maid­stone, which aims to en­cour­age com­merce in the County Town, will see four new war­dens at work in the town cen­tre.

The move fol­lows pre­vi­ous tri­als with night-time econ­omy tax­i­mar­shals and war­dens, which were seen as suc­cess­ful in qui­eten­ing some­times po­ten­tially volatile sit­u­a­tions among latenight club­bers.

The taxi-mar­shals will con­tinue to op­er­ate for two hours ev­ery Satur­day night, and there are four night-time war­dens work­ing ev­ery pay­day week­end.

The new day­time war­dens will keep an eye on Ju­bilee Square and Brench­ley Gar­dens in par­tic­u­lar, both of which have be­come a fo­cus of rowdy be­hav­iour.

Four war­dens, wear­ing high­vis­i­bil­ity jack­ets and dis­tinc­tive base­ball caps, will be on shift to­gether, be­tween noon and 5pm, two in each lo­ca­tion.

They have been en­gaged ini- tially for four days in Au­gust and one in Septem­ber, start­ing on Au­gust 1. All the mar­shals and war­dens and be­ing funded via an £8,000 grant from the Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sioner.

All the of­fi­cers will hold a Se­cu­rity In­dus­try Au­thor­ity li­cence and will also have ad­di­tional train­ing from the po­lice.

In a sep­a­rate move, from midAu­gust, the Crimestop­pers char­ity has reached an agree­ment with The Mall to dis­play im­ages of Kent Po­lice’s “Most Wanted” crim­i­nals on a big screen in King Street shop­ping cen­tre, in the hope the pub­lic will give tips on where the of­fend­ers can be found.

A third ini­tia­tive will see busi­ness own­ers in­vited to a coun­tert­er­ror­ism train­ing course at the Odeon cin­ema in Lock­meadow by the Govern­ment’s Na­tional Counter Ter­ror­ism Se­cu­rity Of­fice.

The course is not in re­sponse to any spe­cific threat to Maid­stone, but is part of Project Grif­fin, a cam­paign to en­hance pub­lic safety by rais­ing aware­ness.

Mean­while po­lice are re-or­gan­is­ing their Po­lice Com­mu­nity Sup­port Of­fi­cers.

From now on, some PCSOs will be given spe­cific roles for deal­ing with vul­ner­a­ble adults, youth en­gage­ment, miss­ing child ex­ploita­tion and do­mes­tic abuse.

While this should give en­hanced ser­vice in those ar­eas, par­ish coun­cils have been warned of “a tem­po­rary short­fall” of PCSOs. Po­lice want to fill the va­can­cies by Septem­ber.

In the event of dif­fi­cul­ties rais­ing a PCSO, there is a sin­gle point of con­tact for the vil­lages – PCSO Alan Hunter on alan.hunter@kent.pnn.po­lice.uk

War­dens will work in the town cen­tre to de­ter anti-so­cial be­hav­iour and dis­or­der, right

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