A new, dedicated team has been set up to tackle anti-social behaviour in Thanet, along with a new phoneline for people to report problems affecting their community.
The Safer Cleaner Thanet Unit is hosted by Thanet Council and draws together a range of organisations, including Kent Police, Kent County Council, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, voluntary groups and the business community. The Unit will targeting problems like vandalism, intimidation, harassment, dumped rubbish and graffiti. Incident diaries will also be given out to those experiencing persistent problems, which may mean that people don't have to give evidence in court. The team works closely with other groups, such as housing associations, local voluntary organisations to work on problems that local people identify.
A new anti-social behaviour hotline has also been launched. Residents can call in the strictest of confidence on 01843 577 888 to report problems, giving as much information as possible about incidents, such as dates, times and places. Calls will be allocated to individual officers from the new Unit, who will then call the person back, providing they leave their name, address and telephone number, and follow the incident through on their behalf. This means that people will have one point of contact and will be able to find out what progress is being made on the incidents that are reported.
Cllr. Ingrid Spencer, Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Services, said: "We know that people want to feel safer and we also know that anti-social behaviour is a major issue throughout the country.
Here in Thanet, we're aiming to try and deal with the problem by establishing this unit, but let's be clear, this is a first step. To tackle anti-social behaviour, there's another group that we need to get on board and that's the community.
"The only way that the Safer Cleaner Thanet Unit can get results is by getting more effective information from the public. They're a vital part of dealing with this whole issue. They're the ones who can supply the details we need about the ongoing issues that are impacting the quality of life in their community. If you're not sure if a problem is affecting other people in your community, then why not ask around in your neighbourhood? The more people who are watching out for problems and reporting them to the new team, the more chance there is that we will be able to get results."
She added: "With the new hotline, there's now one place to call in complete confidence with all your details of the problems you're experiencing. We know that some people worry about reporting issues and that's why we've introduced this new number. We'd obviously prefer people to leave their details, so that we can discuss the matter further with them, but if you want to report incidents anonymously, our team will still follow them up."