Town's bid to stop youths gathering

POLICE have launched a bid to prevent groups of youngsters gathering in an Essex town centre.

James Hore

POLICE have launched a bid to prevent groups of youngsters gathering in an Essex town centre.

Officers in Clacton have been granted a “dispersal order” which they hope will allow them to move troublemakers on before they cause problems.

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

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

The order came into force last week and police said they hope it will “empower” police community support officers (PCSOs) to tackle the youngsters.

Most Read

The order will run for three months and is the first time one has been used in Clacton town centre, although there are already similar schemes running in Colchester.

It has been given the backing of Tendring District Council which is working alongside Clacton town centre's neighbourhood policing team, led by Insp Jason Scrivener.

Insp Scrivener said: “This order will provide local officers with the power to deal with groups of individuals that are causing or have been causing anti-social behaviour within the prescribed area.

“It gives us the power to direct groups to disperse and leave a given area and failure to comply can lead to arrest.

“The order is as a result of partnership working with the council and illustrates our commitment to reducing the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour within the town centre.”

n Six licensed premises across Tendring were visited jointly by police and trading standards officers to see if they would sell alcohol to youngsters.

An underage volunteer visited six premises which had sold young drinkers in the past, but five out of the six places targeted asked for identification and refused the sale.

The assistant who authorised a sale to the underage volunteer was given an £80 fixed penalty notice and the licensee will be interviewed by Trading Standards and police and could be prosecuted.

David Appleby, licensing officer for Tendring, said: “We are happy that the message is getting through to the businesses and we hope that licensees continue to ensure that their staff are asking for identification and that underage people are not being sold alcohol.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter