Estate's scheme reduces crime

Community leaders were celebrating last night after a housing estate was removed from anti-social behaviour measures. Authorities have decided not to renew a dispersal order on the Abbey Estate at Thetford following the success of the six-month scheme, which has seen a dramatic reduction in crime.

Community leaders were celebrating last night after a housing estate was removed from anti-social behaviour measures.

Authorities have decided not to renew a dispersal order on the Abbey Estate at Thetford following the success of the six-month scheme, which has seen a dramatic reduction in crime.

The legislation, which allows police to disperse intimidating groups of people and ban troublemakers from an area for up to 24 hours, was introduced in January following a high number of anti-social behaviour complaints.

But the dispersal order will not be renewed following consultation between Norfolk police, Breckland Council, Peddars Way Housing Association and Keystone Development Trust.

It follows a package of measures on the estate to reduce problems and protect residents, which have included an alternative football play area away from the Abbey shops and a new youth project in York Way.

The police received only 27 anti-social behaviour complaints in the last three months, compared to 114 calls about the Abbey between August 1 and October 31 2005.

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Kay Fisher, executive member for community engagement at Breckland Council, said: "This dispersal order seems to have made some good improvements on the Abbey Estate and I'm glad that local people have had more of a peaceful time lately."

Insp Tim Peacock said: "This reduction in calls about anti social behaviour is very good news and is an example of how things can change and improve when we all work together."

Pauline Quadling, of Abbey Tenants and Residents Association, added: "We have had the lowest crime rate for 16 years and all of the children are getting occupied, so I don't see anti-social behaviour increasing."