Police crackdown in town centre after spate of drink-related incidents

The dispersal order is being enforced by Essex Police in Colchester town centre

The dispersal order is being enforced by Essex Police in Colchester town centre - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Police have been given extra powers in Colchester town centre this weekend following a spate of drink-related incidents since the lockdown was lifted.

Essex Police has issued a dispersal order for a wide perimeter around the town centre and in response to a number of reported alcohol-related incidents and anti-social behaviour.

The order covers the High Street area, with the boundaries being Balkerne Hill, Westway Cowdray Avenue, bottom section of Ipswich Road, East Street, Brook Street, Magdalene Street and Southway.

It runs from 7pm on Friday until 7pm on Sunday and gives police powers to remove anyone they believe to be behaving anti-socially from the area.

A map showing the area covered by the dispersal order in Colchester

A map showing the area covered by the dispersal order in Colchester - Credit: Essex Police

Breaching any direction given by officers under the order will be a criminal offence and those who do not comply could be face arrest.

The move comes after a similar dispersal order was enforced in Chelmsford last weekend to stop an illegal car meet.

Paul Dundas, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said he witnessed more activity in the town centre at weekends since the lifting of Covid measures on July 19.

Paul Dundas, leader Colchester Borough Council

Paul Dundas, leader of Colchester Borough Council - Credit: Colchester Borough Council

Pubs, bars and restaurants no longer have to enforce the 'rule of six' on social gatherings and clubs have been able to welcome revellers back for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

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Mr Dundas said he encouraged people to return to the town centre and boost the economy, but supported police in their efforts to crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

He said: "It all came about from a couple of weeks ago and the lifting of restrictions. There were a lot of people in the town centre and people seemed very happy being back in the bars.

"This was the first time the clubs have been open since 2020. Some people were enjoying themselves a bit too much and the police were dealing with a lot of incidents.

"We want people to be coming back to the town centre. We're trying to support the police and we recognise they have a difficult job to do.

"I was in town last weekend and it did seem very busy - so I've seen first-hand how busy the police are."

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