Police introduce Dispersal Area in Romford Twon centre to deal with Anti Social behaviour
17 September 2012
Following on from the successful management of alcohol related anti social behaviour in Romford Town Centre, Havering Police, in partnership with Havering Council, are introducing a dispersal order under section 30 of the ASB Act 2003.
Chief Superintendant Mick Smith said; “We have had great success in the management of our town centre. Using legislation such as banning orders and section 27 yellow cards we have worked with licensees and traders to ensure that those coming into Romford to use the pubs, clubs and restaurants do so in an acceptable fashion. We wish to ensure that Romford is - and remains - a venue of choice both day and night and we will use all the tools available to us to do so."
"The introduction of a dispersal order in our town centre will help us to ensure that the small minority which behave antisocially cannot spoil the enjoyment of the rest of us. This shows a measure of the levels of management we will take to make sure that we do all that we can to ensure that this remains a safe and secure destination of choice".
"This dispersal order will allow my officers and staff to disperse those youths who may be attending the town centre purely with the aim of being anti social. As the majority of these youths are not consuming alcohol previous legation used - (banning orders and section 27 yellow cards) are not always applicable.”
Sergeant Neal Donohoe from Romford Town Centre team said: “Youths that are congregating, causing inconvenience to visitors and residents and being anti social but not criminal can - under this dispersal order - be asked to leave the town centre for a period of 24 hrs. Groups that are congregating within the town centre area can also be asked to disperse. We will not be using this legislation to stop groups coming out in Romford town centre this is something we actively wish to encourage. We do wish to ensure that those who come to Romford - day or night - feel safe and secure when they do so.”
The dispersal order will start on Monday 1st October 2012 and will run until 30th March 2012 when a review will take place.
"We wish to ensure that Romford is - and remains - a venue of choice both day and night"
Why do we need a dispersal order in Romford ?
We have over recent years been working in partnership with Havering Council, licensees and retailers to ensure that the day and night-time economies in Romford are safe and inviting. We have had great success within our night-time economy and the introduction of Section 27 Yellow Cards and banning orders has enabled us to effectively manage alcohol based anti social behaviour.
‘Banned from one, Banned from all’
Under the new scheme set up by the Havering Police and the council, anyone banned from one licensed premises for drink related disorder will be banned from them all.
Hundreds of drunken troublemakers have now been banned from licensed premises in Romford as Havering Council, the police and licensees get tough with alcohol-related disorder.
The louts have been given bans ranging from three weeks to five years under the scheme which launched in October 2010.
Reasons for bans issued range from assaults in the street, threatening and abusive language, aggressive behaviour towards to door staff, confrontations with police officers and throwing bottles.
The oldest person to receive a ban was 44. 25% were women and about half of the bans were given to people who live outside the borough.
Some banned troublemakers have tried and failed to enter premises in Romford town centre after being recognised by door staff and CCTV camera operators.
Havering Police and the Council are planning to research other town centres across the borough to see if this measure would be suitable.
Teenagers caught attempting to use fake ID in order to drink under age are to be banned from Romford’s pubs and clubs until they are 19.
The scheme aims at deterring anyone under age from borrowing an older sibling’s ID or using fake ID to get into a licensed premises in Romford.
If caught they will be refused entry, have the fake or other person’s ID seized, and door staff may call police.
Town centre police officers will then question the teenager about their true age and identity and contact details for parents. They can be arrested, taken to court and ultimately given a criminal record. They also face being banned from the town centre until they are 19.
Havering Council and police have been working closely with all of Romford’s 16 licensed premises which have signed up to the scheme and are placing posters and stickers to warn any under age drinkers not to try their luck. Door staff are trained to match photos with faces and to recognise the telltale signs that an ID card is fake.
Fake ID will be destroyed and ID belonging to another person will only be returned to that person.
Troublemakers under the influence of alcohol are being given ‘yellow cards’ and banned temporarily from Romford town centre.
They will be given a temporary ban of up to 48 hours if they are have been drinking in the streets and causing trouble.
Police give them a yellow form – an official written direction to leave the locality under Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act.
This ‘yellow card’ informs them how long they will be banned from the town centre. They will also be photographed, given a route to leave the town centre and will be followed by CCTV. Failure to comply is an offence.
The new tactic is being aimed at anyone aged 16 or over who may have been drinking under age and are behaving or are likely to behave in a rowdy, intimidating or antisocial way in public.
Those who commit more serious drink-related offences can be banned from licensed premises in Romford town centre for up to five years under the ‘Banned From One, Banned From All’ scheme.
Section 27 details:
Section 27 Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 provides that a constable can issue a direction to leave a locality to an individual aged at least 10 who is in a public place and who presents a risk of crime or disorder. A direction must only be given when in the police constable’s judgement, the presence of the individual in the locality is likely to cause or contribute to the occurrence or repetition or continuance in that locality of alcohol-related crime or disorder.
A police constable can require the individual to leave the locality in question either immediately or, by such a time as the constable specifies. A police constable can impose the manner in which the individual leaves the locality, to ensure the individual takes the safest and most direct route possible. The direction will prohibit their return to the locality for up to 48 hours.
An individual is guilty of an offence if they fail to comply with the direction to leave.
The direction should not prevent them from having access to where they live, from attending work, from attending their place of education or training or from seeking medical treatment, or having access to a place that they have been ordered to attend, (e.g. a court or tribunal),
Despite this successful management we have found that there are youths and groups who will come to Romford Town centre in particular - not to consume alcohol but with the intent to cause anti social behaviour. Current legislation does not allow us to move these individuals - or to disperse these groups - and we feel that to effectively manage the town centre in a complete and comprehensive way additional legislation is required. The Section 30 dispersal order will allow us to do this.
When does the dispersal order start?
The dispersal order will start on Monday 1st October and will operate for a 6 month period. At 6 months the order will be reviewed.
At any stage during the dispersal order period a review can be called by either Havering police or Havering Council.
Who can be moved on and where?
A constable or PCSO may give one or more of the following directions :
Tell people in a group to disperse ( either immediately or at a stated time and in a stated way)
Tell people who do not live in the effected area to leave ( either immediately or in a stated time and in a stated way).
Tell people who do not live in the affected area not to return to the affected area or part of it for such period (not exceeding 24 hrs) from when the direction was given, as she / he may specify.
If you are under 16 you may not be allowed to be in the dispersal zone between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am unless you are under the effective control of a parent or responsible person over the age of 18.
You may be removed to your home or a place of safety.
What happens if I am moved on yet return to the town centre?
To contravene a direction is an offence under section 32 of the Anti-social behaviour Act 2003 punishable by 3 months imprisonment and /or a fine not exceeding £2500.
If groups are moved on and they start to gather elsewhere on the borough what action will be taken?
This will be monitored by the Romford Town Centre Teams and surrounding wards. If groups begin to congregate in other parts of the borough the dispersal zone can be extended - or a further dispersal zones applied.
What action is being taken in other town centres across Havering?
Havering Police is working with each of the town centres, including licensees, retailers, local authority and more to ensure that each town centre has the tools it requires to deal with its unique areas of concern.
What happens at the end of the dispersal order period?
The dispersal order will be reviewed. If it is felt that the concern has been addressed it will be closed. If further activity is required - it will be extended.