Police in Croydon have increased powers to tackle antisocial behaviour in Croydon town centre and Broad Green.
From April 28 2012 two new ‘dispersal zones’ will operate for six months until October 27, 2012. In these areas police will be able to return people under 16 years of age to their homes if they are likely to act antisocially or become a victim of the behaviour of others. The dispersal orders apply to those of all ages, however, and the police will have extra powers to secure the safety of the community.
Simon Hoar, Conservative Councillor for Wadden Ward and cabinet member of community safety said:
“Residents and traders are being harassed by young people who meet in large groups, damage property and steal of local shops.”
The Croydon town centre order covers all of the main shopping areas as well as east and west Croydon stations, the Broad Green order will cover London Road and the surrounding area.
Inspector James Knowles of the Metropolitan Police has said that:
“Many retail stores support this dispersal order, as antisocial behaviour, theft and street drinking is affecting their trade.”
He also commented that such antisocial behaviour is especially distressing for elderly residents, who: “Fear large groups of youths.”
Labour MP for Croydon Central Andrew Pelling commented on twitter that the new orders will only be as effective as current police budgets and provision allows them to be.
During the six month period the police will have the following extra powers:
- To tell people in a group to disperse.
- To tell people who do not live in the area to leave.
- To tell people who do not live in the area not to return for a preset time period.
- To take someone under the age of 16 back to their home if they are judge to be a acter or victim of antisocial behaviour.
Failure to obey these orders is punishable by 3 months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £2,500.