Successful dispersal zone extended

A DISPERSAL order in the centre of Standish has been extended following its success in reducing anti-social behaviour (ASB).

Since last October and April this year there were 52 reports of ASB compared to 69 for the same period in 2009/10, a drop of 17 incidents or 25 per cent.

Because of this reduction, police and Wigan Council have decided to extend the order for another six months until October 21.

Six-month orders are also going to be enforced at Scholes Precinct and in the Beech Hill area from Thursday, April 21 to combat similar problems there.

Dispersal orders are designed to discourage groups from congregating and causing a nuisance, and have been used in areas across Wigan borough that have suffered from serious and persistent ASB.

The Standish dispersal zone was introduced after a spate of public order offences.

Police officers and PCSOs were able to tell people congregating in an area to leave it either immediately or by a certain deadline.

They could also tell those who didn’t live in the area to leave and not return for up to 24 hours.

In addition, teenagers under 16 who were not under the control of a parent or responsible person over 18 could be taken home between 9pm and 6am.

Inspector Glenn Jones, of the Wigan Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “To have reduced the number of anti-social behaviour incidents by a quarter is a really good result, and proof that these measures do work.

“The dispersal zone was not introduced to target young people or to demonise any specific groups within the community.

“Also, we didn’t disperse people just for being in a group, as we recognise that not all groups cause a nuisance.

“Our main aim is to target anyone who behaves unacceptably, no matter what their age, and it is only by doing this that we can make these areas safer for everyone.”

Joanne Makin, group manager for Neighbourhood Teams at Wigan Council, said: “In some of our neighbourhoods there are small areas that have become ‘no go zones’ for local residents, who find themselves intimidated by gangs who are congregating and causing a nuisance. This joint action sends out a clear message that agencies will not tolerate harassment in any form.”

To contact the Wigan NPT call 0161 856 7124 or email wigan.apt@gmp.police.uk

For non-emergency calls or to report crime call 0161 872 5050 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.