A measure to tackle anti-social behaviour in Worthing town centre has been agreed between Sussex Police and Worthing Borough Council.
Known as a Section 30 order, the three month dispersal order will run from December 1st until February 28th 2014. Under the order police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) can tell groups of two or more people causing significant and persistent anti-social behaviour to leave the area and not return for up to 24 hours.
The order is not designed to create an exclusion zone or a curfew area, but is intended to make the area more pleasant for those who live, work and visit. Police will not necessarily disperse people in this area just because they are in a group; it is aimed at giving police additional powers to deal more effectively with groups who decide to cause problems.
PC Marv Lucas, of Worthing’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This dispersal zone will help us to combat anti-social behaviour which is primarily caused by the street drinking community in the town centre.
“This order will help the immediate problems their anti-social behaviour can cause but we are looking at the longer term help we can give these people alongside our partners at council, Addaction and Worthing Churches Homeless Project.
“We are introducing this zone for the residents and businesses who have been effected by the street drinkers who cause some anti social behaaviour in the Liverpool Gardens and Montague Street area.
“This order is part of the proactive approach taken by a local action team set up a couple of months ago to tackle the problem and this order follows on from a drop-in session we held in October to give infomation to the street community about the agencies who can help them.”
Worthing Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Tom Wye said: “I welcome this action and hope it will be used when necessary to protect the general public from some of the persistent and unpleasant conduct being inflicted on them by a very small anti-social group. I am pleased that it will be used in conjunction with offers of assistance”
Chris Spratt, Chairman of the Worthing Town Centre Initiative, said: “The Worthing Town Centre Initiative is encouraged that action is being taken to manage the street drinker population of Worthing. Large groups can be intimidating to shoppers and to traders; and as Christmas is a family time it is important that people feel welcome in their town centre and not discouraged from visiting.”
Dispersal notice posters highlighting the designated area and the order will be placed in Worthing town centre. Anyone who refuses or breaches the notice could be committing an offence and could be arrested.