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Safer Streets Project

Published Friday 22 December, 2023
Last updated on Thursday 22 February, 2024

Swale Borough Council is deploying uniformed marshals to help keep Sheerness and Sittingbourne town centres safe.

The street marshals, who will be operating over the school holidays, are one of several initiatives being rolled out as part of the Safer Streets campaign.

The council, through the Community Safety Partnership, worked with the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner to secure the funding needed for the campaign from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund.

The marshals will wear body cameras and have radios connected through Swale Link to the council’s CCTV centre, which they can contact if any issues arise.

Swale Borough Council will also be promoting being an active bystander as part of the project.

The council recently teamed up with Kent Police and the charity Sateda to visit licensed premises in Sittingbourne to speak with staff and members of the public about the initiative.

It means you should take:

  1. Direct action: call out negative behaviour, tell the person to stop and ask the victim if they’re ok.
  2. Distract: interrupt, start a conversation with the perpetrator, use an excuse like asking the time!
  3. Delegate: if you don’t feel you can get involved, ask someone else to (bar staff, bouncer).
  4. Delay: if it’s too dangerous, call the police and wait for the situation to pass, then check on the victim.

The money will be invested into measures in the town Centres that will help tackle the higher level of crime, ASB and violence against women and girls, such as:

  1. funding for additional youth programs, that can challenge the behaviour and perceptions of young people towards crime
  2. new fixed site security cameras and three Rapid Deployment CCTV Cameras
  3. more lighting, CCTV, and other general improvements to specified parks and open spaces, creating a safer environment for the children of the area while also discouraging antisocial behaviour in green spaces
  4. investment into a Community Engagement Programme for the Beachfields area, to enable greater community ownership and activity within the space.
  5. increasing community guardianship activities within these areas, including the introduction of these Street Marshalls whose work will help to keep the streets safer
  6. offering Active Bystander training to people who work at night in the town centre and members of the public, which gives them the knowledge and skills to safely challenge the unacceptable behaviour of others in public
  7. investment into Swale Link, which helps prevent crime by providing businesses with ways to share information about incidents. Including reports of shop lifters and anti-social behaviour, by providing radio equipment for them to stay connected with other businesses
  8. additional monitoring of empty premises that attract antisocial behaviour. For example, the empty Sheerness library now has window shuttering and will receive some new fencing.

The measures have started and will continue to run until March 2025.

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

“We are incredibly proud to have successfully bid for this funding from the government’s Safer Streets fund through our Community Safety Partnership.

“We have set out a detailed plan of what we want to achieve with this money, and it is amazing to see the first steps we are taking.

“The ultimate goal is to reduce antisocial behaviour, and in particular, combat violence against women and girls.

“We know that these new measures, including the two street Marshalls, will make Sittingbourne and Sheerness town centres a safer place to be.”

Cllr Elliott Jayes, Vice Chair of the community committee, said:

“I would like to commend the officers involved who worked hard to secure this funding and have now begun implementing our ambitious plans.

“The safety of our community is important to us, and we want the borough to be a safe place to live in and visit.

“These marshals will be working over the festive period to help curb antisocial behaviour in our town centres.

“While that will have an immediate impact, we also have many initiatives which will help create a safer society for us all.

“Such as training and educating people on how to be active bystanders, improved lighting and additional CCTV cameras.

"I look forward to seeing the rest of our measures implemented, if we work together, we can help make the borough a safer place for all.”

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