Vandalism In Medway

12 August 2011, 11:34 | Updated: 12 August 2011, 11:43

Kent police thank Medway residents and partners for their support after they carried out extra patrols all week.

Kent police in Medway have expressed their thanks to the public and partner agencies for their support and assistance over the past few days whilst a major zero tolerance policing operation has been in effect.

Neighbourhood Inspector Richard Cherry said, ‘The last few days have been extremely challenging and it has been necessary for us to work closely with other agencies in order to effectively deal with the issues Medway has faced.

‘We are particularly grateful to Medway Council who supported us by organising for their Environmental Team to carry out rubbish collection duties across the area, in order to help prevent anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.  

‘Youth Support Services have continued to work closely with us and assisted Kent Police's efforts to communicate with young people via social networking sites.  Their support has been invaluable and has helped us to widen our engagement.’

Community Safety Unit Inspector Joy Dean added, ‘Kent police has maintained regular contact with local community leaders, who have offered continued support and been able to pass messages and advice back to their communities.  Our local elected representatives, councillors and the local MPs, have been fantastic in getting out there and working with us to reassure the public.'

‘Many members of the public have spoken with us to pass on their thanks for the good work carried out locally and for helping to keep incidents to a minimum.  We would like to return this thanks to the public for their understanding, patience and support.  Kent is one of the safest places to live in the UK and we intend to ensure it stays that way.’

Earlier this week

A group of around 15 young men, who are believed to have travelled to the area by train, caused damage by setting several fires across the Medway towns.

Officers arrested 11 people following the incidents of vandalism in Chatham, Rainham and Gillingham. The outstanding offenders are being hunted in arrest operations  and the force is confident they will be detained.

On Wednesday Police told us three of the arrested people have been released on bail while the eight others are still in Custody.

The Deputy Chief Constable of Kent Police Alan Pughsley is condemning the violence saying:

“These were mindless acts of vandalism, committed by a small minority, who have travelled to the area, intent on causing damage. I would state in the strongest terms that these acts of aggression will not be tolerated by Kent Police. Their aim was to try and create chaos, and they failed in that, thanks to swift and robust police action.

“By deploying considerable resources to the Medway area we swiftly managed to contain the incidents and have arrested significant numbers of people in connection with the criminal damage. Thankfully, no one was injured, but this has caused serious damage to innocent residents’ property.”

“What now follows is a dedicated investigation to find each of the individuals responsible and bring them to justice. Preparations are also underway for any further outbreaks of violence and we will be monitoring the transport networks and streets to ensure further disruption or criminality is contained.”

“Kent Police has a zero tolerance approach to criminality of any kind, and as these thugs have found out, we take decisive action against those who want to attack the community in Kent.”

The men arrested in connection with the incidents are all currently being held at Medway Police station.

Kent Police would like to appeal for any information about the incidents and those responsible and are urging members of the public to contact them on 01622 690690 or Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Rodney Chambers, the Leader of Medway Council, says:

“It is extremely regrettable that a small number of people traveled from outside of the Medway area into Chatham and Gillingham last night to carry out mindless acts of vandalism.

“Our colleagues in Kent Police deployed considerable resources and swiftly contained the incidents, which I understand involved 15 people who traveled here by train.

“No one was injured, but damage was caused to three cars and a number of bins.

“I would like to thank the police for their swift action, which has so far led to the arrest of 10 of these people. Kent Police also say they are confident that they will catch the others involved.

“We do not expect this kind of criminal activity in an area like Medway, and while it is on a much smaller scale than the events that have taken place in London over the past few days, it is traumatic and upsetting to the innocent people who have seen their property damaged.

“The council is in constant contact with the police and we are working jointly to clean up the damage caused. We shall, of course, continue to assist the police in whatever way we can to make sure the community of Medway is safe and protected from this criminal activity.

“I am sure that all residents across Medway will join me in deploring the actions of these people who have carried out these acts of senseless vandalism."

it comes as Ann Barnes, Chair of Kent Police Authority, is making a personal plea to parents to know where their children are  following the acts of rioters who caused vandalism in the early hours of monday morning in Chatham, Rainham and Gillingham.

 Mrs Barnes will visit the Medway towns this afternoon with the Deputy Chief Constable of Kent Police to see for herself the damaged caused.