Gang activity in part of Kent has been described as being “in a lower league than Chatham Town” football club, prompting a clash between rival councillors.
Cllr Adrian Gulvin (Con), portfolio holder for resources at Medway Council, said the level of youth gang violence had to be “put into perspective” and that Medway was safe despite suggestions to the contrary on social media.
He described the two organised gangs in the Towns as “silly little boys trying to play a game”.
The chairman of Medway’s Community Safety Partnership added: “If I may put this in footballing terms, the gang activity we’ve got here in Medway is a lower league than probably Chatham Town.
“The gang activity that’s happening in London is in the Premier League – the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea. There is a world of difference between what is happening here and there.
“I used that analogy this morning, and someone came back to me and said look what happened to Leicester City (Premier League winners in 2015-16). So we’ve got to make sure we’re on top of it.
“I believe we are – we have a strategy, and we are putting the resources into that strategy.”
But Cllr Alex Paterson (Lab) took exception to the comparison, calling for his counterpart to withdraw the statement.
He said: “How offensive that is. I’ve spoken to the mother of someone who was stabbed in my ward in what has all the hallmarks of a gang-related initiation.
“How dare you suggest she should be in any way comforted by the fact her son might have been stabbed by a Chatham Town league gang member and not someone from the Premier League.
“When you’re being knifed in the streets of your hometown, it doesn’t really matter.”
Cllr Gulvin stood by his comments, adding: “We only need one young person listening to some idiot on social media tweeting how dangerous Medway for them to decide to take a weapon out with them in the evening."