Exit boarded up to help tackle criminal behaviour
An escape route for criminals out of a popular park has been boarded up to crack down on anti-social behaviour.
Maidstone Borough Council has blocked off the exit from Brenchley Gardens to the footpath to Buckland Road to help police if there is a drugs raid.
A big police presence has been felt around Week Street and the surrounding area in the wake of Wayne Chester’s death on Friday, September 29.
Despite police providing a bigger deterrent to CCTV, Cllr John Barned would prefer Maidstone did not turn into a “police state”.
The chairman of MBC’s Housing and Environment Committee said: “There is a drugs problem in Brenchley Gardens and if the police are raiding it and there is an easy escape route then it makes it harder to catch culprits.
“It is a largely friendly town but I don’t think we want to go too heavy handed. However, at the same time, the safety of the people of Maidstone is of utmost importance.
“I am happy for anything we can do to make the town centre a safe place for people to work, visit and to go out and enjoy.
“It would be nice to see a police presence but we don’t want to see a police officer on every corner.”
Cllr Barned revealed MBC was set to discuss improvements to CCTV in the town centre while he also suggested Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) had helped.
He said: “We started the PSPO orders in September and they are to deal with nuisance drinking and begging in the street.
“Up to now we have yet to issue an enforcement order. People are listening to what they have been told by police and they have not been caught again doing it.
“The number of complaints from members of the public has also dropped.”
Maidstone Borough Council have boarded up an entrance to Brenchley Gardens to stop drug dealers and criminals having an easy escape from police; councillor John Barned