POLICE are taking a new step to tackle anti-social behaviour and street drinking in the Middle Market Road area of Great Yarmouth – by putting a Dispersal Order in place.

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This area of the town is regularly highlighted to police as being of concern and the order is being brought in to give officers additional powers to deal with anti-social behaviour.

The dispersal zone will come into force on Monday and will include an area bordered by Union Road, Middle Market Road, Nelson Road North, Gordon Terrace, Manby Road, South Market Road and Forder’s Passage.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 created a power for a senior police officer to designate an area, with local authority agreement, where there is persistent anti-social behaviour.

The area can be designated for up to six months.

Uniformed police officers then have a power 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.

The individuals can be excluded from a specified area for up to 24 hours and if they refuse to follow the officer’s directions to disperse they will be committing an offence, punishable by up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

There is also a discretionary power for officers 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 - but this is not a curfew that requires the police to act in relation to every child out at that time.

Sergeant Dan Smith, of Great Yarmouth’s Operational Partnership Team, said: “This order will give officers extra powers when it comes to dealing with anti-social behaviour and means police will be focusing additional resources on tackling issues in this area.

“We hope that residents and parents will support our efforts to make this a pleasant place for all who use it.

“This doesn’t mean we will be asking any group to move along if they are just talking to their friends, it just gives us more options, alongside our powers of arrest, when dealing with those causing problems.”

Local police have worked closely with Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s Environmental Health team in drawing up the Dispersal Order.

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