Sussex Police and Worthing Borough Council have agreed a three month dispersal order, known as a section 30 order, for Worthing town centre area. It will run from June 1st to August 31st.
Under the order, police officers and PCSOs can tell groups of two or more people, who are 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 the council, Crime Reduction Initiative (CRI) 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 behaviour in the Liverpool Gardens and Montague Street area.”
Worthing Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Keith Sunderland who works with Worthing Street Pastors on Friday nights in the town centre gave his reaction.
Cllr Sunderland said: “I am always wary of more powers being given to the police and as the police are doing an excellent job with the Street Drinkers through Operation Reform I believe that the reason given for this measure is largely irrelevant.
“It seems to be aimed at appeasing people who are frightened of street drinkers. If it does that OK, but I have seen this power being used very responsibly by the Police in dealing with persistent trouble makers in the night time economy. If used in this way I am happy to support it.”
Officers, who work in the town, will join representatives from other agencies at an open day on June 11th from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm at Liverpool Gardens, Worthing, to offer support and advice to the street community.