POLICE have been given extra powers to deal with youths causing problems in part of Redditch.

Following complaints about antisocial behaviour a Section 30 Dispersal Order was granted which covers most of Leysters Close and Tillington Close in Winyates East. It was approved by North Worcestershire’s Superintendent Kevin Purcell on May 8 and runs until 6pm on June 5.

It has given additional powers to police officers and police community support officers in uniform who can order any group of two or more people to disperse or leave a public place if they have grounds for believing 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 antisocial behaviour and unruly gatherings. A total of four such reports in March increased to 20 in April and there were 14 in the first six days of May. Complaints included obstruction of footpaths, shouting, swearing, playing football to the annoyance of residents, climbing on roofs, criminal damage and arson.

Sergeant Neil Billingham said: “The gathering of youths is often enough in itself to cause heightened levels of anxiety for anyone encountering them.

“The type of recent behaviour seen at this location however, goes well beyond this and is completely unacceptable. By utilising the power to disperse groups and gatherings we have the opportunity to move people on before anything more serious occurs.

“This is particularly useful during periods of fine weather when antisocial behaviour can increase. This is the 24th such order to be used in the New Town area of Redditch since 2003 and every one to date has succeeded in reducing the number of calls we receive about such behaviour and the number of actual incidents taking place.”

The order was obtained with the full support of Redditch Council following consultation.