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Marshals to patrol over Easter

Published Wednesday 20 March, 2024
Last updated on Wednesday 20 March, 2024

Uniformed marshals will be working to keep the town centres of Sheerness and Sittingbourne safe over the Easter school holidays.

The marshals will be once again patrolling the high streets to help prevent and tackle anti-social behaviour, after receiving a positive response over the December and February school 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 and work closely with the police.

The initiative has led to the successful prevention of anti-social behaviour, such as being able to track down those suspected of vandalising the toilets at Beachfields.

In addition to the street marshals, the council’s Safer Streets project is also implementing 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
  • trimming down overgrown trees to make spaces lighter and more open

The campaign is being funded by the Government’s Safer Streets Fund, which the council successfully bid for by working with the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner through the Community Safety Partnership.

Tyler, one of the marshals for Sheerness, spoke about tackling violence against women and girls:

“I've dealt with assaults against women, people spiking women’s drinks in clubs, so I've got the experience I need from that, and I can bring into the marshalling.

“But it is just something that needs stamping out really and hopefully us being there, and people knowing what we are and what we do, will help women and children think that we’re a safety [net].

“They can come to us and talk to us, if they can't phone the police or don't see a police officer, they can come to us, and we can deal with it.”

Kieran, one of the marshals for Sittingbourne, spoke about the impact they’ve had:

“When you see elderly people or people who don't like going out when they actually see you, you can see the look in their face that they want you to be there that they feel safe, and that they're glad someone's there.”

Richard Palmer, chair of the community committee, said:

“Our safer streets project is working to tackle the higher levels of anti-social behaviour and violence against women and girls in Sittingbourne and Sheerness town centres.

“This is now the third time we are deploying these marshals in the two high streets, and it is great to see the impact they are having.

“These marshals are helping people feel safer, especially walking home after work, and supporting the police to prevent the kind of behaviour our project is aiming to stop.”

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

“This uniformed presence during school holidays is a great way to not only deter antisocial behaviour, but also help the towns feel safer both during busier times and in the afternoon.

“It is important to emphasise the role the police and the control room have in making this element of the project such a success.

“Having the linked communication enables the marshals to tackle issues in the area, while being confident they will receive the support they need when they need it.”

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