Lancashire Police, in partnership with Lancaster City Council, have authorised a dispersal order for Ridge Square in Lancaster to tackle anti-social behaviour.
This follows a marked increase in reports of anti-social behaviour in and around the area over the last twelve months.
Although several police tactics were employed to deal with these reports, and there had been some positive results, problems still persisted, which were affecting the area and its’ residents. Therefore, a six-month dispersal order has been signed by Superintendent Andrew Webster and Cllr David Smith, Lancaster City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for community safety, to give the Police and Lancaster City Council time to tackle the issues and improve the quality of time for all residents in the area.
The order allows the Police to disperse groups of two or more people away from Ridge Square.
For the Police to do so, the group would need to be behaving in an anti-social manner causing alarm, harassment or distress to others.
Both the Police and Lancaster City Council are aware young people use Ridge Square as a meeting point, and will be working with other local agencies and partners to find solutions and activities for young people over the course of the six-month dispersal order period.
One possible solution is the building of a new multi-purpose youth shelter the Police has recently obtained funding for from the Community Safety Partnership.
Lancaster Police were paid a visit by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, Mr Clive Grunshaw.
As part of his visit, officers gave Mr Grunshaw a tour of Ridge Square to explain why the dispersal order has been sought and how they intend to tackle the issues affecting the area.
Supt Andrew Webster of Lancaster Police said; “We have worked closely with the community, local councillors and Lancaster City Council, and have consulted widely before taking these measures.
“This order is part of our broader approach to tackle anti-social behaviour on the Ridge estate, and continues our approach of listening, engaging and responding in accordance with the community’s wishes.
“There has been a disproportionate amount of Anti-Social Behaviour in the area of Ridge Square, and I believe the Dispersal Order will give officers the powers they need to tackle groups behaving in an anti-social manner causing alarm, harassment or distress to others.
“We are committed to listening to the public, engaging with them and responding to ensure that our neighbourhoods remain safe and accessible for all.”
Cllr David Smith said: “Where issues arise that significantly affect quality of life, it’s important that we all work together to find a solution and take pride in our communities.
“The decision to authorise the dispersal order has not been taken lightly but in all the circumstances is a proportionate way of improving life for residents in this area.”
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I am very grateful to Lancaster Police for inviting me to join them to meet local residents and hear about the problems they have been experiencing – and the solutions to solving them.
“From speaking to residents during my time as Police and Crime Commissioner, I know how distressing anti-social behaviour can be for communities, and the impact it can have on people’s lives.
“This dispersal order is an excellent example of partnership work between the police, council and local community, and I am pleased steps are also being taken to find alternative activities for young people in the area.
“I hope this order is the first-step toward a long-term solution to the problem of anti-social behaviour in the area.”