Plea for Workington dispersal order to continue
Last updated at 12:35, Friday, 27 September 2013
A Workington vicar has asked police to extend a ban on groups of young trouble-makers in the area around his church.
Police introduced a three-month dispersal order for streets around St Michael’s Church in July.
It gives police the power to break up gangs of trouble-makers.
Police have used the dispersal order powers 33 times but it is due to finish on October 11.
Canon Bryan Rowe, of St Michael’s Church, has now written to police chiefs to see if the order can be continued.
Mr Rowe said: “It has been a huge success. We have had very little trouble in and around the church.”
The order was brought in after reports of anti-social behaviour, criminal damage, fighting, littering and drinking.
The most seriously affected areas were Dora Crescent, Dean Street, Falcon Place and Fisher Street.
Mr Rowe stressed that he was not against youngsters playing football in the churchyard with their families, but said trouble was caused by large groups drinking and taking drugs.
He said: “I found a hypodermic needle at the entrance to my gate, and there was a young girl stabbed in the arm by a needle left lying in the churchyard.
“I’m not singling out a particular age group, but when you get a group of young people hanging around then you end up with older people being intimidated.”
Previously, mosquito devices, which emit painful high-frequency sounds audible only to children and young adults, were installed with some success behind the church but Mr Rowe said the dispersal order had been more effective.
Inspector Gary Hunter, of Cumbria police, was unable to confirm whether the order would be extended.
He said: “There are still two weeks left and we haven’t carried out a review.”
In order to continue it, Insp Hunter would have to approach his superintendent and the chief executive of Allerdale council.
The order gives officers and PCSOs the power to disperse groups of two or more within the boundary of St Michael’s ward.
Groups suspected of anti-social behaviour can be told to leave completely and banned from the area for up to 24 hours.
Refusal to comply can mean fines of up to £2,500 or imprisonment.
First published at 12:25, Friday, 27 September 2013
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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