Posted on 25th July 2014
Police in Chesterfield have been granted additional enforcement powers to help them target the anti-social behaviour of a small minority of people in Chesterfield town centre.
The decision to introduce the Dispersal Order has been taken by Derbyshire police and Chesterfield Borough Council, in consultation with other partner agencies, to respond to community concerns.
Under Section 30 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, uniformed police officers and PCSOs have the power to ask groups of two or more people to disperse if they are engaging in behaviour that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any member of the public in the designated area.
If individuals refuse to move on from the area they could be arrested, and face penalties of up to three months in prison or a fine of £2,500.
The order also allows officers to take anyone under the age of 16 within the group to their home address, if they are not supervised by a parent or responsible adult.
Local businesses and members of the public have said they are concerned about anti-social and nuisance behaviour and there has been a recent increase in reports of anti-social behaviour in several areas of Chesterfield town centre.
Inspector John Turner of Chesterfield Policing Section said: “The use of a dispersal order under anti-social behaviour legislation has become necessary because of a minority of people who are continuing to create difficulties for business owners, shoppers, residents and tourists in small areas of the town centre. We are committed to resolving the issues that our community has raised.
“A dispersal order is an effective tool in helping to reduce the unacceptable behaviour of a small minority. The powers will be used proportionately and will therefore only affect those people who are behaving irresponsibly and without consideration for others in the area.
“The Section 30 Order will enable officers to reduce anti-social behaviour in the area, to educate the groups causing the problems and channel them towards positive alternatives to resolve the problems in the long term. In addition, letters relating to inappropriate and nuisance behaviour will be generated and sent to parents and carers of children misbehaving in the locality. These letters will lead to a referral to the multi-agency teams who can arrange for parenting classes and alcohol/drugs support where appropriate.”
Councillor Sharon Blank, Chair of Chesterfield Community Safety Partnership, which is supporting the dispersal order, added: “We hope that the introduction of this order, with the co-operation of local people, will help to keep the area safe and assist responsible agencies to reduce reported incidents of anti-social behaviour.
“The introduction of the order, along with positive activities for the young, shows our on-going commitment to work in partnership to address anti-social behaviour and to use all available tools and powers that are at our disposal.”
The dispersal order will start on Friday 1st August 2014 and will last for six months, with periodic multi-agency reviews throughout the duration of the order.
Posters featuring a map have been produced to highlight the designated dispersal area which covers most of Chesterfield town centre area. These will be displayed in prominent areas.