by Chief Inspector Mark Weller, district commander Canterbury police
As Canterbury district commander, one of the issues I am asked about is what we are doing to tackle anti-social behaviour among our young people.
Concerns are voiced about a wide range of problems, from rowdiness and vandalism to public order offences and even violence.
I am always keen to reassure residents that anti-social behaviour and criminality associated with young people is no more of a problem in the Canterbury district than it is in anywhere else in the country.
Most children and teenagers are brilliant people and aren’t causing any issues. The fact is the vast majority of anti-social behaviour is caused by a tiny minority.
That tiny minority needs to know their behaviour will not be tolerated, because even so-called low level anti-social behaviour can have a negative impact on people. What some people call ‘a bit of fun’ can be incredibly intimidating for others.
The most important thing is to report problems directly to us, either online via the Kent Police website, speaking to your local Police Community Support Officer or phoning 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress.
Once a problem has been identified our Community Safety Unit will work closely with other agencies such as the city and county councils to get to the root of problem and take action.
We have a number of powers available to us to stamp down on anti-social behaviour, from seizing and disposing alcohol from young people to applying for dispersal orders or Criminal Behaviour Orders.
Often the young people who are causing trouble are vulnerable themselves, and behind the scenes we liaise closely with other agencies to identify children who need extra support.
I urge parents to talk to their children about their behaviour, what is acceptable – and what is not – and to make sure they know where they are and who they are associating with.
School holidays and the warmer weather can sometimes spark a rise in anti-social behaviour and I would also like to reassure people that we take this into account when planning where our officers patrol and what times they come on duty.
But we can’t take action if we haven’t been told there’s an issue. Posting your concerns on social media is not the answer. Tell us and we will do what we can to stop anti-social behaviour in its tracks.