Dartford Council is preparing to launch a crackdown on anti-social behaviour in the town centre if plans are passed this week.

If proposals are approved by the cabinet a Public Space Protection Order will be introduced by the end of the year to clamp down on violence, drinking and substance abuse.

The act will give police and council officers more powers to clamp down on behaviour that is inappropriate according to guidelines set out by the PSPO.

Areas that will come under the order include Central Park, the war memorial and Westgate Car Park in Kent Road where, according to council reports, large groups of young people gather to ingest or supply both legal and illegal substances.

Jeremy Kite, leader of the council, told News Shopper he hoped the order would be in place by Christmas.

He said: "This is just listening to the public and making sure their voices are heard. People don't want this type of behaviour in the town centre and this is giving more powers to make sure it doesn't happen.

"Dartford is not full of bad people but there is a handful of bad people getting away with it, getting drunk and using the war memorial as a toilet or inhaling nitrous oxide and it is just not acceptable.

"We are trying to tackle the problem and this is giving people extra powers in their back pocket to do so."

In a survey supplied by the council, it was revealed that 44 per cent of residents think rowdiness and people being drunk in public is a problem, with 88 per cent of people backing a PSPO.

More than a quarter (27.5 per cent) of residents feel fairly unsafe at night time, with yobs, gangs and minimal police presence identified as issues.

A request was made for extra police to support the PSPO during the night-time, but this was not achieved.

Councillor Jonathon Hawkes, leader of Dartford Labour, said: "Local people will be concerned that Kent Police have not been provided with the funding they need to enforce the protection order.

"Labour welcomes the PSPO – we tabled a proposal for this action a year ago. However, for the order to be effective those who would cause trouble in our town centre need to know they will be caught and action taken against them. That’s why Labour believes the police should receive the support they need to keep our town centre safe.”

Cllr Kite said the PSPO was not about increasing police but providing additional powers for all officers who can implement them.

He said: "Police will have the additional powers, as will council officers as well. We will be giving the powers to people, including the police.

"This is about stamping out the gap between big crime and anti-social-behaviour and we are giving them the powers to do so.

"It's not about creating a police state, people can still come and enjoy the town but residents often see what they don't want to, be that littering or someone steaming drunk and this is us showing that people's voices will be heard."

In another survey supplied to cabinet members, 36 per cent of residents said they felt legal highs and erratic behaviour in public was a very big problem.

The PSPO will cover vehicle offences such as racing and sounding horns to create a nuisance, as well as littering, urinating, and not consuming alcohol in restricted areas.

The Westgate car park, opposite Air and Breathe, will be one area under the order.

A CCTV log of the car park revealed several fights last year often in the early hours of the morning, including one large fight involving baseball bats and another with over 20 people involved.

Fines for people breaching the PSPO will be set at £100 with a 50 per cent discount if it is paid within 10 days.

The plans will go to cabinet on Thursday, September 7.