Dartford councillor Matt Bryant defends Temple Hill over trouble order plans

News Shopper: Councillor Matt Bryant has defended Temple Hill after plans to make it a Dispersal Area were announced. Councillor Matt Bryant has defended Temple Hill after plans to make it a Dispersal Area were announced.

A DARTFORD councillor has stood up for Temple Hill after plans were announced for a police order to deal with anti-social behaviour.

Opposition Labour Cllr Matt Bryant claims a "few individuals" are causing residents in the area to suffer after more than 80 calls were made to police in the last three months.

Dartford Council and Kent Police have put forward joint plans to make Temple Hill a Dispersal Area, meaning officers will have powers to break up any group of two or more people found causing or likely to cause trouble.

This is the second time it has been hit with an order - made under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 - after a Dispersal Area was put in place for six months in 2004 centred mainly around Temple Hill Square.

The rarely used order has never been imposed on any other part of Dartford.

Joyce Green Cllr Bryant said: "Temple Hill is a great community full of fantastic people and I am proud to represent them.

"Without tackling the root cause, these problems could easily spread to other areas like Newtown, Stone and the town centre."

Under the terms of the order young people under 16 found without a responsible adult between 9pm and 6am can be taken back to their homes and failure to comply could lead to a fine and/or three months imprisonment.

Dartford Council leader Jeremy Kite said: "Local residents just want to see these nuisances removed from their streets and that’s exactly what the Dispersal Area does.

"Temple Hill is a great community and I’m not going to stand by and let a small number of troublemakers disrupt it."

Kent Police said reports of theft and shoplifting have increased in Joyce Green and neighbouring Littlebrook in the last six months.

Paul Cooke, Detective Inspector of Dartford’s Community Safety Unit, said: "This dispersal area is just one tool that will help us to ensure offenders and law abiding residents are clear: this type of behaviour will not be tolerated."

The order will run for three months from January 31 to April 30 if ratified as expected at a Dartford Council meeting on January 24.

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