Exit boarded up to help tackle crim­i­nal be­hav­iour

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Guy Bell gbell@thek­m­group.co.uk @gbel­lKM

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

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