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Police and council vow tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the Dane John Gardens, Canterbury

The police and city council insist they are stepping up their efforts to crack down on the crime and anti-social behaviour in the Dane John Gardens.

They have put “a tactical focus” on the gardens after residents complained that the gardens had become lawless and were not property policed.

In a report before city councillors next week, the authorities report that there has been no worsening of issues in the park but would still intensify their efforts to combat them.

The Dane John Gardens at night. Picture: John Hippisley Photography.
The Dane John Gardens at night. Picture: John Hippisley Photography.

Police and Canterbury City Council enforcement officers have been visiting the park to address issues including graffiti, mess and crime.

The report by Doug Rattray, the council’s head of safer neighbourhoods, and enforcement manager Lacy Dixon states: “The Dane John area will be added to Operation Squire, an existing joint operation with Kent Police and CCC Enforcement Team, whereby anti-social behaviour connected with alcohol and the street drinking fraternity are targeted and addressed.

“Kent Police town centre team have increased their patrols with their Community Policing and City Centre teams in the gardens which includes the use of PCSOs. They have been made aware of reporting channels so that they can also report issues as and when they see them.

“Plain clothes officers had already been deployed in the gardens to monitor drug activity and have already met with some success.”

Dane John Gardens in Canterbury
Dane John Gardens in Canterbury

The report adds that the police and council are also targeting specific individuals they suspect of being responsible for much of the crime and anti-social behaviour.

Canterbury City Council is also considering introducing a Public Spaces Protection Order for the Gardens to cover issues such as alcohol use and out of control dogs.

Its cleaning contractor Serco has visited to remove graffiti and deal with any damaged or overflowing bins.

Lib Dem councillor Nick Eden-Green, who lives in the Dane John, was among those who attended a public meeting at Age Concern in July organised by the St Mildred’s Area Community Society to discuss the problems in the gardens.

Cllr Nick Eden-Green lives in the Dane John Gardens and sees first-hand its issues.
Cllr Nick Eden-Green lives in the Dane John Gardens and sees first-hand its issues.

He said: “I did notice that there were seven Serco employees having a great clear up. While that’s welcome, it does indicate the extent of the problems and how much more is needed to be done.

“For example, there was some utterly unfortunate damage done to the barbecue area at the Don Juan Cafe recently. It was inexcusable.

“As far as the gardens are generally concerned, we have to see their use as a balance. They should be enjoyed by everybody from young right through to the elderly.

“But if people are doing things that adversely affect people’s quality of life then we need to understand that it is anti-social behaviour.”

The report into the Dane John Gardens will go before the council’s Canterbury Area Member Panel which meets at the Guildhall at 7pm on Monday.

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