Officers tackling anti-social behaviour in Swale are reminding people around the safe use of high-powered water guns.
Over the last month, neighbourhood officers have seen increased reports of incidents concerning water pistols.
On Thursday 22 June 2023, officers responded to the report of a group of teenagers using water guns to cause a nuisance at a bakery in Sittingbourne High Street. While the water caused no damage to staff, stock, or the property, the anti-social behaviour was disruptive to trade.
In other instances, water pistols being used in the area have caused alarm and distress after being mistaken for viable weapons. This has prompted reports of firearm concerns to Kent Police. Subsequent investigations take up valuable time and resources, which could be afforded to incidents posing a real risk to the public.
PS Ryan Chase, of the Swale Community Safety Unit, said:
‘We appreciate that the longer, hotter days and approaching summer holidays may see people engaging in water fights to cool off and have fun. ‘Anyone choosing to use water guns should ensure that they are not intentionally, or unintentionally, causing alarm or upset to others. It is a criminal offence to cause public distress with imitation firearms, so water guns resembling viable weapons must only be used on private property and not in the public domain. ‘If needs be, dispersal orders will be put in place to give officers more power to tackle anti-social behaviour and move groups on who continue to cause a nuisance.’
Preventing anti-social behaviour and ensuring everyone remains safe is part of the force’s Safer Summer initiative.
Anyone with concerns about anti-social behaviour can report it online or via 999 if a crime is in progress.
Matters can also be reported to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or by using the online form on their website.