A NEW initiative has been set up to tackle anti-social behaviour in Canvey town centre by the community policing team - and has already seen plans to install bollards in a car park to stop youths congregating realised.

On Friday, businesses, councillors, residents and officers from Castle Point and Rochford Community Policing Team held their first meeting to share ideas to help reduce anti-social behaviour in the Furtherwick Road area following concerns raised by residents.

At the first meeting, the partners identified issues and have taken steps to install bollards in the car park behind Furtherwick Road to restrict large groups congregating.

The group is aiming to step large groups gathering and intimidating residents, as well as reducing drug use in the town centre.

Sgt Mark McQuade, from Castle Point and Rochford Community Policing Team, said: “Starting this initiative is just one part of a wider plan to help reduce anti-social behaviour that has been reported.

“This opportunity will allow us to hear residents’ concerns about the area and take steps when needed.

“It’s good to have support from councillors and local businesses.”

Residents have been reporting a number of issues in the Furtherwick Road area of Canvey, including Elm Road and outside the Rio Bingo hall.

In May, working alongside police, Rio Bingo Hall, on Furtherwick Road, installed an electric gate to ensure youths are restricted from entering private property and causing “distress to customers and staff”.

And the town centre business owners believe the issue has become “horrendous”, claiming that some evenings there will be groups of up to 50 kids gathered in the town centre.

A spokesman for the bingo hall added: “Part of the problem is that everything is reactive and we have very little proactive.”

Police officers have supported this new initiative by visiting local schools to speak to teenagers about hate crime, anti-social behaviour and gangs.

The group will meet every six weeks to address any anti-social behaviour issues, as well as environmental concerns.

Officers will work with local partners by enforcing dispersal orders and implementing patrols, where necessary.

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