Teen yob clampdown hailed a success
By Liz HearnshawNEW police powers to ban intimidating youths from a blighted shopping precinct have been hailed a success.The first dispersal order imposed in west Suffolk came into effect in the Stamford Court area of Bury St Edmunds on Friday and officers have already arrested one teenager for breaching the strict rules.
By Liz Hearnshaw
NEW police powers to ban intimidating youths from a blighted shopping precinct have been hailed a success.
The first dispersal order imposed in west Suffolk came into effect in the Stamford Court area of Bury St Edmunds on Friday and officers have already arrested one teenager for breaching the strict rules.
Designed to clamp down on the anti-social and nuisance behaviour that has been making life a misery for businesses and residents, the order gives police discretionary powers to disperse groups of two or more people for up to 24 hours.
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Over the weekend, five people were moved on and one 16-year-old boy from Bury St Edmunds was arrested and charged with failing to comply with the order. He will appear before St Edmundsbury Youth Court tomorrow.
Offenders face a maximum punishment of six months in prison or a fine of up to £5,000.
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Chief Inspector Mike Gooch, of Bury St Edmunds police, said: “Although it is early days, we are extremely pleased with how the first weekend has gone.
“We hope that by taking positive action with these individuals it will send out a clear message that Suffolk police will not tolerate anti-social behaviour and we will use all the powers at our disposal to deal with inappropriate behaviour.
“We will continue to target the area with highly-visible police patrols and will work to further enhance our response to improve the quality of life for the residents who live and work in the area.”
The dispersal order, made jointly by St Edmundsbury Borough Council and the police, allows officers to disperse groups “where their presence or behaviour has resulted, or is likely to result, in a member of the public being harassed, intimidated, alarmed or distressed”.
It also gives police the power to take young people under the age of 16 home, or to a place of safety, after 9pm - if they are not under the control of an adult.