Published: 17:49, 23 August 2019
| Updated: 17:17, 24 August 2019
Police ordered 18 teenagers to leave different parts of Ashford in one day.
A dispersal order was put in place from 5pm on Friday last week, following reports of young people causing disturbances and noise, underage drinking and drug use at the Kestrel Park and Coleman’s Kitchen woods.
The order lasted 48-hours and covered part of the Chilmington area.
A designated dispersal area gives extra powers to officers under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to tackle those carrying out nuisance behaviour.
It enables them to order people to leave the area. If they return within a specified time, they can be arrested.
Patrols attended Kestrel Park at about 10pm on Saturday, where a group was found causing a disturbance.
In total, 16 youngsters – aged between 15 and 18 – were formally asked to leave from the area.
A second dispersal was held in Ashford's town centre covering the same time period and patrols were carried out throughout that time.
At 5.25pm on Saturday, a 14-year-old girl was asked to leave after causing issues in McDonald's in the High Street and, at about 9.40pm on the same day, another 14-year-old girl was ordered to leave the town centre after causing a disturbance in the High Street.
Insp Jason Atkinson, from the area's community safety unit, said: "We take a dim view of those who cause anti-social behaviour as it can have a negative impact on the community.
"During the school holiday, issues were reported to us so our officers carried out patrols to check no further disorder took place.
"We have spoken to those we found who we believe have been involved and taken their details.
"Almost all of those people dispersed were under the age of 18 so the consequences of their behaviour was explained to them, and parents and schools will be involved in our ongoing work to tackle anti-social behaviour.
"We will take action against anyone found to be persistently causing problems.
"This includes working with a wide range of partners to find suitable, long-term solutions.
"Further dispersal orders will also be used when appropriate.
"It’s important residents and businesses keep reporting incidents to Kent Police when they arise as it means we can tackle it in the most efficient way."