Police powers to tackle anti-social behaviour

Police in Verwood say they will use a range of powers to target anyone behaving in an anti-social manner in the town this summer.

The warning follows a successful targeted operation which was launched in July 2013 following a spike in reports of low-level crime and anti-social behaviour in Verwood town centre and the Potterne area.

Dorset Police, together with East Dorset District Council, introduced a Section 30 dispersal order under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 which allowed officers to direct anyone behaving inappropriately from the area.

Police used their section 30 dispersal powers on eight occasions. Two of these instances involved a person under the age of 16.

Officers also issued 20 dispersal notices under Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006. This power is available to officers as a tool to tackle alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and nuisance. 

Total recorded crime in Verwood halved from 58 reports in July 2013 to 27 in August 2013. The force also saw a fall in the number of reports of anti-social behaviour during the same period.

Safer Neighbourhood Police Sergeant Nicola Loftus said: “The problem needed fairly robust policing as a core group of people were showing a total disregard for the community in which they live. This resulted in an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) being made on one individual and an acceptable behaviour contract in respect of another.

“Fortunately, since the end of the summer last year, the number of reported incidents of anti-social behaviour has reduced dramatically.

“With the lighter evenings and more opportunity for people to be out on the streets and in open spaces we would ask that any anti-social behaviour is quickly reported to the police on 101 to ensure that we do not have a repeat of the problems of last year.

“I would also like to remind anyone considering acting in this way that Dorset Police will not tolerate this level of nuisance within East Dorset and we will take action against you.” 

Dorset Police are working with partners, including the Dorset Youth Service, Synergy Housing Association and the East Dorset Community Safety Team, to ensure that young people are kept safe and not encouraged to get involved in anti-social behaviour. 

Anyone who comes to the attention of either organisation on more than one occasion will receive a visit from a police officer and a member of the council or housing association’s anti-social behaviour team. Anyone aged over 16 is monitored through a similar process and are made aware of the long-term implications of their behaviour. 

To report incidents of anti-social behaviour in your community call 101. 

Issued: 7 May 2014

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