Dispersal order bid to tackle unruly youths

ANTI-social behaviour and criminal damage has prompted a dispersal order being granted for part of Martinswood in Stevenage.

It covers Chepstow and Epsom Parks, the whole of Epsom Close and parts of Mildmay Road and Derby Way.

The order came into force yesterday (Thursday) and runs through to January 2012 which takes into account the summer holiday period, Halloween and Bonfire Night and the Christmas and New Year periods.

It has been applied for and granted by Stevenage police and Stevenage Borough Council in response to reports from local residents and schools about large groups of young people congregating in the vicinity.

There have also been reports of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage to the pavilion in Epsom Park and damage to private property and vehicles.

Stevenage safer neighbourhoods team has carried out a series of street meets and Stevenage Homes conducted house to house surveys and a series of multi-agency meetings were held with residents following which CCTV cameras were put in last month near to Chepstow Park.

The Section 30 order gives powers to police officers and police community support officers allowing them to disperse groups of two or more persons that are causing or are likely to cause harassment alarm or distress to members of the public.

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Police can ask members of the public or persons in a group to leave the locality and not return within 24 hours. Failure to comply with such a direction can result in the arrest of that person.

Safer neighbourhoods officer PC Lou Brown said: “The anti-social behaviour that has been displayed in this vicinity will not be tolerated.

“Several arrests have already been made in relation to criminal damage and public order offences and we have also issued Section 59 warnings for anti-social use of motorbikes and mopeds. We continue to carry out high visibility patrols in the area and will continue to target offenders.

“Law-abiding members of the public have every right to live and work in peace in this area and we will continue to work to identify those responsible and deal with them robustly.”