A boosted police presence in Dover town centre is making a big difference. I organised a meeting in Dover on Friday between police and owners of high street shops – after a spate of break-ins and burglaries earlier this year.
I praised the local force for swiftly catching the culprits and responding to concerns by increasing patrols in Market Square, Cannon Street and Biggin Street. Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott, Dover District Commander Ch Insp Mark Weller and local PCSOs dropped in to La Salle Verte. We met with the café's owner Sandra Mahlo, Nifties boss Nathaniel Richards and Hassan Tizaghouin who runs Charmaine's hair salon. Town councillors Chris Precious and Callum Warriner joined the meeting, along with Tower Hamlets resident June Murphy.
The spate of high street break-ins and burglaries was extremely concerning. Yet our local force deserve great credit for swiftly catching the culprits. It's great to see how Matthew Scott and Ch Insp Weller have listened to our concerns and boosted patrols in the town centre too. I was also hugely impressed by our PCSOs – they know their patch inside-out and are keen to work closely with local business owners.
The business owners also raised the issue of people consuming alcohol and taking drugs in the town centre. Ch Insp Weller said the force's 'Operation Urban' was cracking down on anti-social behaviour linked to alcohol or drug use in Dover. This is a joint operation between Kent Police and Dover District Council's community safety unit, which seeks to address crime and antisocial behaviour in the town. He also revealed that shoplifting in the high street was down 17 per cent.
It's fantastic to see our local force and business owners working together with the community to tackle crime. Both the police and shopkeepers are clearly passionate about protecting our high street – and I am determined to help in any way I can. In Parliament, we recently secured more funding for Kent Police – which is going towards 200 more officers. We need to see lots of these new recruits deployed in Dover and Deal.
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