Town Centre trouble zone success

Youths loiter

Youths loiter

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A NEW Wigan town centre crackdown against nuisance gangs has reaped instant results.

It is only a little over three weeks since a new dispersal zone was imposed in the area which gives the police and PCSOs the power to break up and send away groups of people if they feel they pose an anti-social effect.

And town centre traders are saying the zones, which have initially become effective for a six month period, have been of great benefit in discouraging nuisance behaviour.

The scheme is operated by Greater Manchester Police in conjunction with Wigan Council and the officers’ enhanced powers mean that people dispersed must not return to the area in question for up to 24 hours.

Those behind the scheme stress that this is not a case of picking on youths and that people in groups who are behaving themselves have nothing to fear.

John Sanson, Chair of Wigan Town Centre Management Board and Grand Arcade manager, said: “The section 30 Dispersal Orders are another tool in the box to prevent anti-social behaviour.

“In the short time they have been in operation the PCSOs have used them within the town centre thus alleviating greater problems.

“It removes the group or person for a short period and warns them about their future conduct. Our aim is to make Wigan town centre a more pleasant and safer place to shop, benefitting retailers and other businesses in difficult times.”

Wigan Township Inspector Glenn Jones said: “The Neighbourhood Team wants to work with the town centre community to ensure that Wigan remains one of the safest places to visit within Greater Manchester, the Section 30 is another power that local officers can use to prevent those causing anti-social behaviour from disrupting shoppers and visitors during the festive season.”

Mr Sanson said the success of the scheme will bring benefits to the town centre especially in the busy lead-up to the Christmas period.