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Marshals Redeployed

Published Wednesday 7 February, 2024
Last updated on Tuesday 20 February, 2024

Uniformed marshals will once again be patrolling Sheerness and Sittingbourne town centres over the February half-term school holidays.

The marshals will be working to prevent anti-social behaviour in the towns following the positive response to their initial patrols over the December holidays.

The initiative is part of Swale Borough Council’s Safer Streets campaign, which aims to tackle antisocial behaviour and reduce violence against women and girls.

The marshals wear body cameras and have radios connected through Swale Link to the council’s CCTV centre.

This means they can coordinate with the CCTV team and local police, which has led to successful interventions like tracking down those suspected of vandalising the Beachfields public toilets.

The council are looking at appropriate dates to redeploy the marshals during future school holidays.

Alongside these patrols, the council is also working on other measures to help people feel safe in the towns, such as:

  • installing additional CCTV cameras in both Sheerness and Sittingbourne
  • improving lighting in open spaces such as the four extra solar lights in the Beachfields play area
  • funding youth programmes at the County Youth Club
  • offering free active bystander training for all
  • trimming down overgrown trees to make spaces lighter and more open

Funding for the campaign came from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund, after the council - through the Community Safety Partnership - worked with the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner to successfully bid for the additional resources.

Cllr Richard Palmer, chair of the community committee, said:

“Our safer streets project is making a tremendous difference for our community, with the street marshals already showing results in reducing antisocial behaviour in our town centres.

“We know that making the town centres of Sheerness and Sittingbourne safer will have a wider impact on the whole of Swale, being the bustling and lively hubs of our community.

“The uniformed presence during school holidays, which often sees an increase in ASB, is a targeted way for us to achieve a safer Swale.

“We are utilising this funding as efficiently as possible, to get the most value out of every penny, improving the lives and safety of our residents.

“There are even more exciting initiatives to come, like additional CCTV cameras, active bystander training and improving lighting in hotspots for antisocial behaviour.”

Cllr Elliott Jayes, vice chair of the community committee, said:

“Swale needs to be a safe space for every resident, especially women and girls who can often feel vulnerable to violence, which is simply unacceptable.

“The measures we are implementing through our safer streets project will help make Swale a safer place for all.

“It would have been amazing to receive additional funding so that we could help other areas of Swale, but the criteria were very limited and severely reduced our options.

“Despite these challenges we are proud to have secured this funding for Sittingbourne and Sheerness and know it will have a lasting impact for our community.”

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