Police hail dispersal order 'success'

A NEW dispersal order aimed at preventing trouble in an Essex town has been hailed an “outstanding success” after it was used 16 times in its first week.

James Hore

A NEW dispersal order aimed at preventing trouble in an Essex town has been hailed an “outstanding success” after it was used 16 times in its first week.

The order prevents groups of youngsters gathering in Clacton town centre and allows police to move troublemakers on before they cause problems.

Officers have the power to split up groups - deemed just two people or more - if they are causing anti-social behaviour.

If the youngsters return within 24 hours they can be arrested and, if convicted, could face up to three months' imprisonment or a fine of up to £2,500.

The order, which came into force last Thursday, has already been used to break up groups of drunk people causing disturbances in the town centre. One arrest was made after someone failed to comply with the order.

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Chief Inspector Jon Hayter said: “It has been an outstanding success so far.

“To have been so successful at this early stage shows much promise in the coming months.

“It is a tactic that local police in the town will be making full use of as it is such a useful tool in crime and disorder.”

Pc Adam Westall, neighbourhood safety officer, said: “It's the responsibility and choice of the individual.

“They can either be out enjoying a drink and a kebab with their friends or they can be at home on the sofa eating a Pot Noodle because they've been sent home early for acting irresponsibly.”

The order will be in place for three months and police hope troublemakers will be discouraged from hanging out in known “hotspots”.

Pc Peter Mayhew, neighbourhood safety officer, said: “Already we have seen big differences in the town centre.

“If we ask someone to move on, by the time they have left the large area covered by the dispersal zone, they have calmed down.”

The dispersal order has the backing of Tendring District Council which is working alongside Clacton town centre's neighbourhood policing team.

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