Concerned parents are calling for police officers to patrol a notorious skate park where they and their children parents are being “attacked and abused”.
Residents in Cranbrook, which hit headlines at the beginning of the pandemic for a rise in anti-social behaviour and violence, want to see PCSOs in the Brookside skate park area to deter rogue teens from causing mayhem.
Residents have called on the force, parish council and Kent County Council councillors to help.
“I think single reports to the police aren’t getting us anywhere,” one woman said.
“We need to come together as local residents and record in one place all the aggression and attacks our teens have experienced recently.
“We need a patrol - police or PCSO - in the recreation areas to give these aggressors the signal that their attacks will not be tolerated and give our kids reassurance that they can socialise in our public spaces without fear of assault.”
Politicians banded together just under a year ago after branding the Weald town a “wild west haven for thugs and bandits”.
“The location doesn’t help as it’s tucked out the way at the bottom of a dip,” one mum said.
“It almost needs to be moved to a more visible and open place like the ball park, where I’m sure more kids would use it and feel less isolated.”
Other residents had suggested parents take matters into their own hands and create a volunteer group to patrol the park.
“I’m sure issues will subside if there are adults around,” one said.
Weald MP Helen Grant said: “I am appalled and extremely concerned about the recent reports of anti-social and even criminal behaviour that have taken place around Cranbrook skate park.
“It is totally unacceptable for children and families to be subject to threats, intimidation and abuse.
“This latest rise in incidents has caused me to write again to Matthew Scott, police and crime commissioner, to express my considerable worry about the ongoing behaviour and to request additional police presence in Cranbrook.”
Kim Fletcher, chairman of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council, said: “The violence in the skate park is very regrettable as we are trying to engage with the young people of the town.
"As a community we need to engage with these future citizens who often do not seem to have parental guidance or experience of talking to an adult.”
Kent Police says it is in talks to tackle the issue.
Inspector Ian Jones added: “If anyone is concerned about antisocial behaviour, I would encourage them to call us so we can build an accurate picture of times and locations that it is taking place.
“Our patrols depend on timely information about incidents to allow an effective response.”
Incidents can be reported either through the Kent Police website or by calling 101. Call 999 if a crime is in progress.