Enhanced patrols have been targeting crime hotspots in Tonbridge and Snodland during action aimed at reducing violence and antisocial behaviour among young people.
Buses, train stations, and locations highlighted by residents as areas of concern, have seen a greater police presence as part of an operation to also provide greater reassurance to children and young adults.
The multi-partner initiative took place between Monday 7 February and Thursday 17 February 2022, and was supported by British Transport Police, as well as agencies including St Giles Trust, Salus and Snodland Youth Centre.
Enforcement led to several arrests, including a 19-year-old man detained three times in three days around Tonbridge train station, for offences linked to drugs supply, knife possession and theft.
Officers also arrested three teenagers causing antisocial behaviour on a bus in the nearby High Street. The suspects, aged 14, were then found in possession of a quantity of items reportedly stolen from a sports shop.
The operation ensured there was also a greater presence of visible patrols in Snodland High Street, as well as parks in both of the towns.
Inspector Lizzie Jones, of the Tonbridge and Malling Community Safety Unit said: ‘Antisocial behaviour can have a massive impact on people’s lives and whilst some crimes may appear to be low-level, it is important offenders are made to realise they cannot continue without fear of consequence.’
Engagement with young people
Throughout the two-week period, work was also carried out to build upon strong relationships developed by Kent Police youth engagement officers, as well as dedicated school officers.
Almost 40 young people attended a special pizza night at the Snodland Youth and Children’s Centre, where they were also able to talk to police and partners about any concerns and what may be affecting their lives.
Supplies of free hot chocolate helped to boost similar engagement events at the Tonbridge Youth Hub and from a stall at Tonbridge Train Station.
Inspector Jones added: ‘Whilst we remain determined to prosecute those who seek to jeopardise the safety of our young people, it is equally important to interact with children to make them feel safe and supported.‘They may be victims of antisocial behaviour or violence themselves, and it is crucial they are aware of support which is available from police and our partners.’