New dispersal zone created to curb public drinking in Mile End

Photo: Simon Law, It is hoped that the dispersal zone will limit public drunkenness among young people

A new dispersal zone to reduce summer night-time antisocial behaviour such as public drunkenness among young people  in the Mile End  area has been introduced by police and Tower Hamlets council.

A ‘dispersal zone’ will be in operation in the area until early autumn, in an effort to reduce crime and show that antisocial acts will not be tolerated.

The zone, created under the Antisocial Behaviour Act of 2003, gives the police powers to move along groups of youths hanging around the area at night between the hours of 7pm and 4am, with those who refuse to comply facing prosecution.

Unaccompanied under-16s found in the zone after 9pm may be forcibly escorted home by a police officer.

The initiative focuses on the Eric Street and Treby Estates area, around Mile End Tube Station in Mile End Park, and comes in response to reported incidents of drinking and antisocial behaviour.

Andy Bamber, head of Community Safety at Tower Hamlets Council, said: “We, the council, along with our partners, are committed to keeping the borough cleaner, safer and greener. The dispersal zone in Eric Street and Hamlets Way highlights that acts of antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated.”

According to Detective Inspector Luke Marks of the Metropolitan Police, the most important thing is to make Mile End a safer place for those who live, work, or pass through the area.

After meeting with residents’ groups, Police Constable Tony Smith of the Mile End East Safer Neighbourhoods Team said that most locals, including the youths themselves, are in favour of the order. “This is one of several initiatives that we are carrying out across Mile End to reassure the public and make Mile End a safe place to live and work,” he said.

Superintendent Mark Wolski was in Eric Street last week, briefing officers and meeting the local community. He said: “It is my overall desire to do our best to ensure that crime is dramatically reduced within the designated area during the hours of the operation. We will continue to work to make the Mile End area an even safer place.”

The dispersal zone will be in operation until the 24th of September.

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