Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
Police crack down on street drinkers
8:40am Monday 4th June 2012 in News
PARTS of the town centre are to become a no-go zone for gangs of street drinkers after police obtained a dispersal order to help tackle nuisance behaviour.
Swindon Council and the town centre neighbourhood policing team obtained the court order last week in response to regular complaints by the public about groups gathering near the bus station and Queens Park.
Under the new order, under section 30 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, police will be able to expel groups of two or more from the designated areas for up to 24 hours, and anyone who refuses or breaches the notice can be arrested, jailed for up to three months or fined up to £2,500.
Over the course of two months earlier this year, police officers along with Swindon Council’s Anti-social Behaviour Team carried out covert, plain-clothes patrols to gather intelligence on those suspected of causing the trouble.
The group, of which police estimate numbered about 70 people, are suspected of being responsible for hundreds of incidents of ASB and crime in the last year.
Police have said reports of nuisance behaviour include street drinkers being verbally abusive, begging aggressively, urinating in public, spitting and littering.
PC Paul Bezzant, community beat manager for the area, said: “This order is not designed to create an exclusion zone or a curfew area.
“It allows police to tackle ASB effectively and is intended to make the area more pleasant for those who live, work and visit.
“We will not disperse people just because they are in a group but the dispersal zone gives police additional powers to deal more effectively with those groups who decide to cause problems.
“It will help us combat anti-social behaviour and at the same time look at a long-term solution with our partners.”
Inspector Adrian Burt said: “We have been working with our partners and the public to carry out specific operations and additional patrols in the area to reassure business operators and the public.
“Although levels of anti-social behaviour do seem to be improving, I am confident the dispersal order will help us to continue our work to make Swindon town centre safe.”
Anyone with complaints about nuisance behaviour can contact 101, or email email@example.com citing Operation Arcadia.
Comments are closed on this article.