Police are using new legislation to crack down on gangs of youths who blight the lives of people living....
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Police get new power to deal with intimidation

Posted on May 18, 2006

This article was published in May 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Police are using new legislation to crack down on gangs of youths who blight the lives of people living in Eaton Bray.

From May 26, the village is to become the subject of an official dispersal order, meaning officers will have the power to move on groups whose behaviour is intimidating, harassing, alarming or causing distress to residents.

The order, which was approved by South Beds District Council, means individuals can be excluded from the area for up to 24 hours and arrested if they refuse to co-operate.

It also means police, who will continue to take action against anyone committing a criminal offence, can take home any under 16-year-old found unsupervised and causing problems after 9pm.

Beds Police beat manager PC Neville Johnson said the dispersal order is designed to prevent residents feeling threatened by groups hanging around public spaces and causing problems. It is not a curfew and law-abiding young people have nothing to fear.

Notices highlighting the order, which will last for six months, are being placed in shop windows, at entrances to the village and in the local press.

PC Johnson said: "Eaton Bray is not noted for having excessive levels of anti-social behaviour, although there have been problems with a minority of young people spoiling it for others.

"Dispersal orders are not used in isolation, but are part of an integrated series of measures implemented across the division to discourage anti-social behaviour.

"These measures include everything from test purchase operations to reduce under-age drinking to Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and more serious Anti-Social Behaviour Orders.

"With the holidays approaching, parents can help us by asking where their children are and what they are up to. It is also helpful to ensure there is no unsupervised access to alcohol in the home."

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 16 May 2006

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