POLICE have been given extra powers to tackle young people causing problems in Redditch town centre, with the full support of Redditch Council.

Following complaints from residents and local businesses about anti social behaviour in the Other Road, Archer Road and Church Green areas of Redditch, a two month Section 30 Dispersal Order was granted. It was approved by North Worcestershire’s Superintendent Kevin Purcell and begins at 6pm on Friday, July 25 and runs until 6pm on September 25.

A Section 30 Dispersal Order gives additional powers to police officers and PCSOs (police community support officers) who can order any group of two or more people to disperse or leave a public place if they believe that their presence has or is likely to result in causing alarm, distress, harassment or intimidation.

Between 9pm and 6am anyone reasonably believed to be aged under 16 and not under the effective control of a parent or responsible adult can be taken by officers back to their home. It is an offence to fail to comply and the offender can be arrested without a warrant.

The order was requested following a noticeable increase in reports and police observations of anti social behaviour and unruly gatherings, particularly recently during the warmer weather. There were a total of 10 reports between January and May this year; however in June and July reports have increased to 35. Complaints included being drunk and abusive, graffiti, shouting, swearing and throwing rubbish in resident’s gardens, smoking drugs, climbing on roofs and criminal damage.

PC Richard Field said: “We have been working hard to engage with young people gathering in these areas; however their recent behaviour is not acceptable. We firmly believe that people living and working in these areas should be able to live and work peacefully, without feeling fearful or intimidated. The order will give PCSOs and police the power to disperse groups and gatherings where appropriate.

“This will be particularly useful over the summer holidays and periods of fine weather when anti social behaviour can increase. This is the second order to be used in the town centre, but we have issued 24 orders in other areas of Redditch with every one being successful in reducing the number of calls we receive about such behaviour and the number of actual incidents taking place.”