Published: 12:05, 13 July 2020
| Updated: 12:30, 13 July 2020
A councillor has called for more CCTV and police patrols in a "lawless" park after a spate of attacks in recent weeks.
Residents have raised concerns about a spike in anti-social and criminal behaviour at Dane Park in Margate.
A mob of youngsters are said to have videoed an attack on two girls which left the pair with injuries last month.
In another incident in June, the park was cordoned off after reports of a sexual assault.
Meanwhile, a man was attacked by a pair of thugs and his phone destroyed in the early hours of last Tuesday.
But police chiefs insist it remains a safe area.
Councillor Gary Taylor says there has been a "multitude" of different crimes - including drug-use, vandalism, arson and fly-tipping - that have built-up over the past six months.
But the recent assaults on young people was the "tipping point" and he has called for more CCTV and police patrols in the area.
"It does feel like it is lawless sometimes - people are afraid to go in there," the Dane Valley ward councillor said.
"It is a nice park - we have planted 200 trees there - and there is a good community spirit in the area. But there is a minority who make it a fearful place."
He raised concerns of increased criminal activity and anti-social behaviour at a Thanet District Council meeting on Thursday.
Deputy leader Cllr Helen Whitehead (Lab) expressed her sympathy to all those affected.
"There are many factors that can be considered significant in relation to this spike," she said.
"The community safety team are aware of ongoing incidents and are liaising with Kent Police in order to make sure public areas are safe and welcoming places to be."
Last month, travellers illegally set-up camp at the park. Footage was taken showing a member of a travelling community driving a go-kart around the pitches, sparking concerns about damage to kids' football pitches.
Cllr Whitehead added: "Long-term plans are being developed to solve ongoing issues in relation to encampments to ensure all communities are safe and provided for."
Cllr Taylor pushed for CCTV to be installed at the park in a bid to tackle the issue.
But Cllr Whitehead said Kent Police and the community safety team are trying to work out what the most effective approaches would be in terms of dealing with the problems that arise in Dane Park.
"It is an ongoing process at the moment," she added. "What these measures may be is something that is under constant discussion."
Ch Insp Ed Ruffle, district commander for Thanet, said: "I want to assure Margate residents that Dane Park remains a safe place to take their children or walk their dogs and we are working with Thanet District Council and other partner agencies to keep it that way.
"The park was visited by officers carrying out a weapons sweep earlier this year as part of our ongoing violence reduction work, the result of which will be to reduce the chance of any incidents resulting in harm.
"Margate was also made the subject of a dispersal order earlier this month, which allowed our officers to move on anyone who was misbehaving, and we will not hesitate to use such orders again should we feel they are necessary."
He also said the local policing and community patrol teams are being proactive to identify and arrest suspects where concerns have been raised.
If residents are experiencing issues with anti-social behaviour, they are urged to call 101 or email email@example.com.
More by this authorBrad Harper
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