A quick note on policing in Westgate after my meeting with Inspector Pearson today.
The headline figures are a reduction in both criminal damage and violence against the person since prompt action was taken last month. Criminal damage is down 134% and violence is down by 50%. The other good news is that across Thanet in general crime is going down.
It appears then that the arrival of the TASK team and the removal of the bench in Station Road has had the desired effect and I'm optimistic that with the dispersal order in place and the arrival of a new 'beat' officer in Westgate, that we have gone a long way towards solving a problem that was steadily getting out of hand.
Clearly, in contrast to other towns such as Whitstable and Herne Bay, where the police are having to deal with anti-social behaviour and intimidation from groups of up to one hundred youths, we represent a very minor problem here in Westgate but none-the-less, I'm delighted by the prompt response given by Kent police and have, with my two other fellow Westgate councillors, King and Goodwin, written to the local area commander, John Molloy, in Maidstone, thanking him for his intervention, which was encouraged by the support of our MP, Roger Gale.
For those readers who may be interested, the BBC accompanied the police TASK team as they dealt with anti-social behaviour in Herne Bay and this programme will be shown on the BBC at 7:30pm next Monday evening, I'm told.
On a completely different subject, I've just had a chat with Cllr King and it appears that there's enough funding now in place to support the Christmas lights for another year with generous support once again from among the traders and Darren Ellis. If there's a shortfall, then the ward councillors and county councillor, Robert Burgess are prepared to dip into the small reserve fund that each of us has for such eventualities and worthy causes.
Also, I've decided to withdraw the objection I planned to make against the houses to be built on the site in Harold Avenue, on the basis that houses represent the lesser of two evils, given the fact that planning permission already exists for two blocks of flats. As the residents appear happier with homes rather than two concrete apartment blocks, I don't plan to stand in their way by making a challenge.