Published: 18:39, 12 June 2018
| Updated: 15:32, 13 June 2018
A children's play park has reportedly become a 'no-go zone' after being used as a location for organised fights.
Parents have been forced to avoid Woodlands Park in Wrotham Road, Gravesend, after a recent spate of violence in the area.
A 17-year-old was allegedly beaten and hit with a baton at the site last Wednesday (June 6) while another bare knuckle fight broke out yesterday afternoon.
She said: “I felt sick. It made me feel physically sick.
“They should put more security in the park, it’s getting worse there. They need to stop it.
“I think they should shut the park earlier.”
Another mum from Gravesend, who wished to remain anonymous, thinks the park is becoming unsafe for residents and their children.
She said: “My daughter who is 12 has just started to want to hang out with her friends from school there at the weekends but I’m now quite reluctant to want her to go.
“Many of us parents are now feeling too scared for our children’s safety, not just in the park but anywhere in Gravesend and Northfleet, we’re all very anxious that our children will be targeted for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I so want my children to have the freedom I had when I was younger but it’s becoming increasingly difficult. Many of us believe that not enough is being done to protect our innocent children from unprovoked attacks.”
Chief Inspector Andy Gadd, district commander for Gravesham and Dartford, said: "Kent Police is aware of a video purporting to show two men fighting at an unconfirmed location, believed to be Woodlands Park, Gravesend, on an unconfirmed date. The incident has not been reported to Kent Police but officers are now conducting inquiries to establish the circumstances.
"Since May 1 Kent Police have received one report of an assault which took place in Woodlands Park, Gravesend, and this was a dispute between a group of youths on June 6.
"While no serious injuries were suffered in that incident, it is a sign of how seriously Kent Police takes reports of such incidents that officers’ quick response resulted in two suspects being detained on the same evening. The investigation remains ongoing.
"Woodlands Park is an area that officers regularly patrol and they have not uncovered any evidence of there being any wider issues.
"Fighting, and all other types of anti-social behaviour, are entirely unacceptable and Kent Police is committed to ensuring Gravesend remains a safe place for everyone to enjoy and make the most of.
"I would encourage anyone with information relating to this video or indeed any concerns to report them to us on 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress. They can also report incidents online through the Kent Police website."
Cabinet Member for Environmental Services Cllr Alan Ridgers said: “There has been one reported incident at Woodlands Park. Woodlands is a much loved park and the safety of our visitors is of the upmost importance. Kent Police and the council’s community safety team are aware of the alleged incident and are working in partnership to ensure that Woodlands Park is a safe place to visit.”
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