Published: 13:46, 30 April 2021
| Updated: 13:56, 30 April 2021
A temporary dispersal order has been put in place in Greenhithe again to clampdown on rowdy car meet-ups at a known hotspot.
The order will be in force in the Crossways Boulevard area over the weekend in response to reports of motorists gathering in nearby car parks and driving recklessly over the previous two weekends.
Regular patrols will take place and officers will have the power to instruct people to leave the area if they suspect antisocial behaviour.
Failure to comply with a request to leave risks arrest.
Where deemed necessary officers will also have powers to seize nuisance vehicles and enforce breaches of Covid-19 rules.
Since mid-February, police have responded to various reports of anti-social activity around the Burger King at Crossways after consecutive weekends of disruption to Charles Street residents.
Two dispersal orders have previously been enforced and, while these were in place, police say disruption was kept to a minimum.
Several fines relating to breaches of Covid-19 regulations have also been issued as a result and on one occasion a motorist had their vehicle seized.
Locals have become increasingly alarmed at the presence of "boy racers" close to where a man was killed on a pedestrian crossing four years ago.
Disgruntled residents have previously taken to social media to vent their frustration at what they claim is a regular occurrence on roads near the fast food chain.
One said: "Boy racers up and down crossways....again. Is anything ever going to be done about this?
"It's absolutely ridiculous! Every bloody week they're here and nothing is done about it."
It prompted Dartford MP Gareth Johnson to condemn the "selfish behaviour" of motorists, believed to be accessing the area via the Crossing.
Kent County Councillor for Swanscombe and Greenhithe, Peter Harman has also previously spoken out on the issue.
He praised the use of dispersal powers but called for more permanent solutions such as speed cameras, section 59 notices confiscating cars from repeat offenders and increased security at nearby trading estates.
Drivers are reported to use the empty business parks as their base at weekends before whizzing around the nearby streets and roundabouts.
Last summer Cllr Harman led a local campaign alongside another councillor to tackle noisy meet ups of up to 200 vehicles at the nearby Quadrant Close business park, off Crossways.
Police say they have also now met with local businesses to provide advice on measures they can take which could prevent motorists gathering in the area.
Inspector Sarah Rivett, from the Dartford Community Safety Unit, said: "The motorists involved in these gatherings are causing an unacceptable nuisance to nearby residents, in addition to endangering other motorists and themselves.
"Our officers are working hard with partner agencies, including nearby businesses and the council, to find a permanent resolution however the use of dispersal orders has also proven to be an effective deterrent.
"Residents can expect to see increased patrols in the area this weekend and anyone who decides to engage in nuisance behaviour may find themselves in receipt of the most robust, but proportionate, enforcement action available.
"‘Residents can be assured that we will not turn a blind eye to any antisocial activity that takes place after this weekend and I would encourage anyone with a concern to report it to us via our website, or by calling 101."