More officers are on duty in Dover town centre this week tackling anti-social behaviour by street drinkers.
The move follows numerous complaints about the alcohol-fuelled problems caused in the town, including drunkeness, shouting, swearing and even fights.
Mercury reader Sheila Farrell, of Avenue Road, is among those who have called for more action to be taken.
“While visiting my bank in the Market Square at 9.15am, I was shocked to see several drunken men shouting at each other or talking to themselves,” she said. “All had cans. I mentioned it to the bank assistant and said said it went on every day. In fact she said it was worse in the afternoon when couples were fighting, swearing loudly and shouting.
“It is as anti-social as it can possibly be!
Sometimes the overspill can be seen sitting on the wall of St Mary’s Church.
“Visitors moved away disgusted, some with children. I felt ashamed. They will return to their home towns with images of street drinkers out of their heads. Can’t these alcoholics be rounded up and give a small area out of sight? It really is bad to see when Dover is trying so hard to increase tourism.” Mrs Farrell said cruise ship passengers might be prefering to visit Canterbury if they have heard about “this animal behaviour”.
“We must have more policing. Dover is beginning to be a no-go area.”
Chief Inspector Steve Barlow told the Mercury: “I fully appreciate the concerns of both those living and working in Dover and visitors to the town. This is why I have ensured that additional officers from east division will be working from today, Monday September 2, in the town centre to address the issues of drinking and the resulting anti-social behaviour.
Alcohol can be poured away by police.
“Clearly, we need to look at a longer-term solution to this problem. So as well as officers dedicated to the town centre we are working with other agencies to explore and take forward measures that ensure people do not see the town centre as somewhere that they can vent their drunken behaviour.”
Drinkers who ignore a police officer's request to stop drinking in alcohol control areas can have their booze seized and poured away. They can also be ordered to leave the area for up to 24 hours.
As the Mercury reported last month, off-licences in the town centre are working with the police, district council and Dover Partnership Against Crime, to stop serving super-strength alcohol to regular drinkers.
A Dover District Council spokesman said: "We continue to work with Kent Police, and all our partners as part of the Dover District Community Safety Partnership, to make sure the district remains a safe place to live, work and visit. This includes work to continue to tackle anti-social behaviour caused by drinking.
"However, we would stress that enforcement of the law remains a matter for the police."