Police introduce Newcastle dispersal zone in crackdown on anti-social behaviour
POLICE in Newcastle will now be able to disperse and even arrest groups of children under the age of 16 who they believe are likely to act in an anti-social manner.
Children who are out alone after 9pm can also be escorted home after Staffordshire Police and Newcastle Borough Council jointly agreed a dispersal zone, covering the town centre and the outlying streets.
The zone, which takes effect from tonight, has been granted under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act of 2003, and will give officers additional powers to take action against anyone acting or likely to act in an anti-social manner between the hours of 9pm and 6am.
Those who are acting, or are suspected of acting anti-socially, will be asked to leave the zone with those who return risking arrest.
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Inspector Mark Barlow, of Newcastle Borough’s local policing team, said the force recognised not all young people were involved in anti-social behaviour, but added that a number were ‘distressing other members of the community.’
“The powers which have been granted to police under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act will help us target those, who despite earlier interventions, are continuing to cause harm to the wider community,” he said.
Cllr Tony Kearon, cabinet member for safer communities at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said: “Groups of people behaving in an aggressive and threatening manner can make people feel anxious and fearful and even drive them away.
“These powers will allow the police to nip this behaviour in the bud before it escalates and causes more trouble for town centre visitors.
“The borough council has no doubt that the powers will be used appropriately and responsibly and will help to make the town centre an even safer and more enjoyable place to visit.”