Published: 06:00, 06 August 2021
New CCTV cameras, costing £18,500, have been installed in Leysdown to cut down on crime and anti-social behaviour.
The set of four cameras have been jointly funded by Swale council, Leysdown Parish Council and the Sheppey Area Committee.
The borough council will also cover the annual costs of maintenance, staff monitoring costs and fibre line rental.
Three cameras have been installed along the seafront between the junction of the promenade and Leysdown Road, and one along Leysdown Road.
Cllr Elliott Jayes, deputy cabinet member for community at Swale council, said: “We’ve seen a rise in crime and anti-social behaviour in Leysdown in the past few years, especially during the summer months.
“Installing CCTV gives us the ability to immediately report any crime or anti-social behaviour to the police in real time, so they can respond more quickly, helping keep the community safer for everyone.”
He added: “We’ve had good results with our CCTV in other parts of Sheppey – our CCTV operators alerted police when a young male waved a knife at a camera on Sheerness High Street and he was arrested. The operators gave live updates to attending patrols who found the male and arrested him for possession of a deadly weapon.
“CCTV operators also helped police arrest an offender who had committed arson and got back up when he attempted to fight them.”
Cllr Geoff Partis, of Leysdown Parish Council, said: “People must feel safer knowing the cameras are there.
“We are miles away from anywhere and we don’t always have police.
“They take at least 10 minutes to get here from Sheerness, Sittingbourne and Faversham with a blue light. We have got really good access to Leysdown, but it takes so long to get here.
“The cameras are an extension on the eyes of the police.”
Statistics released by Kent Police show crime is more prevalent in Leysdown during the summer months.
In June last year, 39 crimes were reported in the coastal village. These reports included 16 anti-social behaviour incidents, 14 violence and sexual offences and four public orders.
In July 2020, the number of crimes reported jumped up to 69, including 29 violence and sexual offences, 23 anti-social behaviour incidents and five criminal damages and/or arson attacks.
Then, in August 2020, it rose yet again to 84 crimes, including 36 violence and sexual offences, 18 anti-social behaviour incidents and seven criminal damages and/or arson attacks.
These figures compare to 23 crimes being reported in January this year, 33 in February and 29 in March.
Businesses in the area have also been impacted by such crimes.
In 2017, two pubs had their licences suspended.
The Talk of the Town, which used to be on the promenade, was temporarily closed by police following a brawl, while Merlins was shut by Swale council’s licensing sub-committee after a complaint by police over an assault.
The application was made after the venue failed to provide officers with CCTV footage of an assault which took place outside its premises in Leysdown Road on July 9.