Support for dispersal order issued after 'people seen with weapons'

St Botolph's Street in Colchester. The town centre has been subject to a dispersal order.

St Botolph's Street in Colchester. The town centre has been subject to a dispersal order. - Credit: Google

A dispersal order in central Colchester has been welcomed to "calm fears" over crime.

Essex Police issued the order for the Castle Park area to stop people congregating there after a group was reportedly seen with weapons.

It also comes after a man was left in a critical condition following reports of a fight in the early hours of Saturday, August 28, in St Botolph’s Street. The man, in his 40s, was found near the junction with Queen Street.

The area of the dispersal order in Colchester

The area of the dispersal order in Colchester - Credit: Essex Police

The central Colchester dispersal order follows one issued less than a month ago to crack down on drink-related disorder.

District Commander for Colchester, Chief Inspector Rob Huddleston, maintained "Colchester is a safe place" with nearly 1,000 fewer crimes recorded in the year to the end of July 2021.

He said his officers "will always use the tools available to them to make sure you’re safe enjoying everything Colchester has to offer and this includes dispersal orders".

Steph Nissen, a Green Party borough councillor for Castle, said: "I strongly feel that everyone should be able to enjoy our town and facilities without risk and risk of violence and harm.

"I support the police keeping the public safe in this instance and calming fears following recent events."

Mark Goacher, a Green Party Colchester borough councillor for Castle

Mark Goacher, a Green Party Colchester borough councillor for Castle, said residents had understandably been anxious following disturbances in the town centre. - Credit: Su Anderson

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Mark Goacher, also a Green Party borough councillor for Castle, said what was causing a lot of concern locally was the serious assault in the Queen Street area, combined with "groups of youths congregating".

"It seemed to be the case this was causing a degree of anxiety among some of the residents, which is understandable.

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"It seems to me like it's a good idea to have this dispersal order in place to calm fears and keep a lid on problems that might occur."

He said he was aware of ongoing issues - like you get in any town centre - rather than a recent spike.

Essex Police said the dispersal order that runs from Wednesday, September 1, until 5pm on Friday, September 3, was put in place to ensure the safety of people in the town centre.

It is only the second dispersal order to be issued in Colchester this year.

Chief Inspector Huddleston said: “Specialist teams like Op Raptor, who tackle street and drugs gangs, and our Disruptor team are prolific at identifying and targeting those intent on causing you harm.

“And our Town Centre Team continues to be really effective in tackling crimes on your doorstep.

“We will continue to work with our partners to address issues when they arise and that includes working with schools to engage with young people.”

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