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Police success in tackling anti-social behaviour in Verwood

Police in Verwood say crime and anti-social behaviour has dropped significantly in the town following a targeted operation.

In July 2013, Dorset Police launched Operation Keeper after a spike in reports of low-level crime and anti-social behaviour in Verwood town centre and the Potterne area the previous month.

The Force, together with East Dorset District Council, agreed to the use of dispersal powers under Section 30 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, which allows officers to direct anyone behaving inappropriately from the area.

They can also take home anyone who is aged under 16 and is found acting anti-socially in a public place in the town between 9pm and 6am.

Police officers continue to issue Section 27 notices under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 to individuals causing problems in the evening. This notice orders the person to leave a particular area and not return for up to 48 hours.

The ongoing Operation Keeper also involves increased patrols from Safer Neighbourhood Teams and the Enhanced Policing Team from Bournemouth.

Police Constable Andy Robertson, of Verwood Safer Neighbourhood Team, says: “Total recorded crime in Verwood halved from 58 reports in July 2013 to 27 in August 2013.

"We also saw a dramatic fall in the number of reported incidents of anti-social behaviour in the hot spot areas of the recreation ground and Potterne Park between July and September.

"The purpose of this operation is not to make Verwood a youth-free zone but to take action against those who continue to cause problems. Since the operation started we have seen an increase in the use of facilities at the recreation ground and Potterne Park by local youths who have told us they now feel more comfortable in these areas because the police are dealing with the individuals who have previously made the areas intimidating and uninviting.

“The feedback we have received from the public has been excellent.

“Our operation continues to be specifically targeted at a handful of individuals who regularly behave in a way which is either criminal or anti-social. We have been careful to be proportionate and fair but make no apologies for being firm and decisive with certain people.”

View the Section 30 dispersal map here 1.1mb PDF

On 23 August 2013, Dorset Police secured a Criminal Related Anti-Social Behaviour Order (CRASBO) on an 18-year-old man from Verwood following convictions for shoplifting and public order offences. He was subsequently ordered to serve a term of imprisonment for breaching the conditions of a six-month suspended prison sentence and the CRASBO.

Sergeant Nikki Loftus says: “We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour. The Verwood and Potterne community deserve better.”  

ISSUED: 4 November 2013