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Nuisance teenagers banned from Swindon shopping centre
A dispersal order covering a north Swindon shopping centre has been drawn up to combat anti-social and criminal behaviour by gangs of nuisance teenagers.
The court-backed order gives police the power to remove groups who may be causing problems at the Orbital Shopping Park in Haydon Wick.
It was announced yesterday as Wiltshire Police held a day of action as part of Operation Harness, a high-visibility crackdown on crime and disorder across the county.
Officers carried out a series of raids across the town on a number of properties lived in by known drug users, while a sniffer dog was scanning pupils at Lydiard Park Academy. Pupils came up drug-free.
The order has been introduced, following an agreement between the police and council, following a number of incidents at the Orbital in recent months.
“The Orbital is a family shopping area and this order is a demonstration that we will not tolerate anti-social behaviour,” said Superintendent Gavin Williams.
“This dispersal order gives us the power to move groups immediately rather than spend time collecting intelligence on any problems.
“In the long term we can target the problem individuals away from the Orbital as a solution.”
In July a 48-year-old man was savagely attacked by a gang of more than ten youths, and just a month earlier a teenager had cake thrown at him before being kicked to the ground by a gang in a violent robbery.
The dispersal order will last until February 20.
Superintendent Williams said: “Already since the order has come into force we have seen a huge reduction in crime levels.
“We have introduced these orders elsewhere and they have been effective. The groups soon become aware of the consequences of not leaving the area.”
During the day warrants were executed across the region that led to seven arrests.
In a dawn raid on a property in Newhall Street in the town centre a significant amount of drugs paraphernalia was seized.
The house was in a squalid condition with dog faeces and urine all over the floor as well as uncapped needles.
At a separate property in East Street, in the Railway Village, a man was arrested on suspicion of possession of class B drugs and six wraps of a substance believed to be cannabis were seized.
Sergeant Caroline Hook said: “This morning has been a success in which we have made a number of arrests and seized an amount of drugs and drug paraphernalia.
“It sends an important message to the community that we are serious in tackling these problems.”
Yesterday saw more than 300 officers across Wiltshire take part in 55 activities in a 24-hour period as the force continued its high-profile, year-long operation.
Chief Constable Patrick Geenty said: “We have a day once a month with a high number of activities to involve members of the public.
“The key is getting intelligence from the public so we can target our resources effectively.”
The first public briefing was also held at the Orbital yesterday, where police were given instructions for the day.
Members of the public were able to see how they operate.
There are plans to hold more briefings in the future so the public can offer ideas.