Dispersal orders see children banned from city centre

 

Children under 16 have been banned from a city centre at night in a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

The move sees under-16s who are without an adult or parent being barred from the streets of Bangor, Gwynedd, between 9pm and 6am for six months.

North Wales Police and Gwynedd County Council took the controversial step after complaints about groups drinking alcohol on the streets and harassing residents.

Police inspector Simon Barrasford said: "Dispersal orders have proved an effective weapon against anti-social behaviour in other parts of the force and can demonstrate how partnership working can be most effective.

"Many people are working very hard to improve and regenerate the city centre as well as just wanting to enjoy their daily lives without being intimidated or harassed and I have no doubt dispersal orders areas will assist in that endeavour.

"Drinking in public has an adverse effect not only on visitors' perception but also on the quality of life of residents. Working closely with our partners in the local authorities I'm confident that we can have a positive impact on the area."

The ban gives police (including police community support officers) powers to order groups of two or more to leave the area.

Failure to comply could lead to up to three months imprisonment and or a fine of up to £2,500.

Catherine Roberts, senior community safety officer said: "The use of a dispersal order within Gwynedd is likely to be an effective means of reducing anti-social behaviour.

"Simply by introducing such orders is not in itself the solution as there is a great deal of hard work involved in making these orders effective, and we are fortunate to have a very good working relationship with our colleagues in North Wales Police, when dealing with such issues. Of course it does not stop there, the support of the community is essential so that any improvements are maintained in the longer term."

PA

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