Published: 12:27, 01 June 2020
| Updated: 16:05, 01 June 2020
Security patrols are being rolled out on beaches in response to shocking antisocial behaviour including a mass brawl.
Patrols from Marc-One and Probe Security, which already covers Pierremont Park in the town, will also keep an eye on other bays in the CT10 area as well as the promenade.
Their main role will be to ensure social distancing, prevent antisocial behaviour and provide a physical presence on the beach.
The trial will be part-funded through Broadstairs and St Peter's Town Council's grant budget, money that was previously earmarked for events in Broadstairs which can no longer go ahead, and also out of the town-wide improvement budget.
If it is deemed a success, the council will consider extending the scheme over the summer
Cllr Rosalind Binks, chairman of the finance and general purposes committee, says she hopes the security presence will have an impact.
"The fine weather will undoubtedly bring many visitors to the town in the next few weeks," she said.
"Residents have shown remarkable resolve in following social distancing rules during the lockdown and the town council is determined to do everything in its power to ensure that both residents and visitors can enjoy our beautiful beaches as safely as possible."
Cllr Binks says the fight on Viking Bay, which prompted the launch of the trial, might have been dispersed sooner had patrols been in place then.
"Just their presence will make a difference," she added.
"People who might want to cause trouble will know there is someone watching."
She adds that she expects a bumper summer on the beaches due to potential travel restrictions and people's wariness to go on a plane.
Danielle Dunn, town clerk, says the council has been discussing using beach security for a while.
"Following the well-reported incident which occurred at Viking Bay over the Bank Holiday and the rules relating to the Covid-19 outbreak, it seemed a prime opportunity to trial a beach security scheme and see if it will benefit the community at large," she added.
More than a dozen people were involved in the incident on Viking Bay on Monday, May 25.
Punches and kicks were exchanged as horrified beachgoers looked on and the shocking footage was posted on social media.
And on Saturday night in Margate, two teenagers were arrested after police broke up a seafront brawl.
Officers descended on the scene in after reports of a disturbance at around 9.15pm, however, this area of Thanet will not be patrolled by the new security teams during the six-week trial.