New town blitz on unruly behaviour

By Richard SmithMORE than 20 people have been banned from all licensed premises in a town as police and landlords take a tough stance against drunken behaviour.

By Richard Smith

MORE than 20 people have been banned from all licensed premises in a town as police and landlords take a tough stance against drunken behaviour.

The troublemakers include two adults who were buying alcohol and then giving it to under-age drinkers in Woodbridge.

The bans have been enforced under a Nightsafe Scheme that has been running in the town for about six months and is one of several measures designed to curb the town's crimewave and stop anti-social behaviour spoiling the quality of life for residents and visitors.

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Woodbridge Town Council has voted to ask for a dispersal order to be introduced to coincide with the proposed area where a scheme is already under way to stop people from drinking alcohol in public.

Under the proposed dispersal order, police and community support officers would have the power to break up groups of people if they believed their behaviour was going to harass, intimidate, alarm or stress other people.

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They could be excluded for up to 24 hours and the punishment for disobeying officers is up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

Officers would also have the power to take home young people aged under 16 who were on the streets and not under the control of an adult after 9pm.

The designation order can last for up to six months and is expected to include Elmhurst Park, Fen Meadow, Kingston Field, Woodbridge Cemetery, the town centre and the riverside.

Pc Mick Sears, town centre community police officer, said: "It will be easier to understand and police if we link the dispersal order and alcohol ban area because I am happy that the alcohol ban area covers all our hot-spots.

"The town council has voted unanimously for a dispersal order and I strongly agree that a dispersal order for Woodbridge is a requirement. I do not feel such an order would be detrimental to the town and would stop visitors wishing to come. I think it would do the opposite, as Nightsafe does, and make people feel safer.

"There is a general agreement that there has been an escalation in anti-social behaviour since December when the original idea for an order was made. It has been delayed since then due to more multi-agency talks."

Nigel Barratt, town and district councillor, added: "If we have a dispersal order this will be an extra piece of armoury for the police which gives them more teeth."

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