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Anti-social behaviour to be tackled with new police powers in Ramsgate

By Mary Louis
The Leopold Street area, Ramsgate, now a Designated Dispersal Area, giving Kent Police new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour.
The Leopold Street area, Ramsgate, now a Designated Dispersal Area, giving Kent Police new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Police officers in Ramsgate gain more powers from today to tackle anti-social behaviour in a new Designated Dispersal Area (DDA).

This followed complaints from residents and businesses in the Leopold Street area about bottles being smashed, mopeds being raced around, young people climbing on the walls and roofs of buildings and items, including bricks, being thrown. Kent Police have received more than 30 such calls since April.

Uniformed and police community support officers (PCSOs) will have added powers to disperse groups of people causing intimidation, alarm or distress.

Kent Police applied for a DDA in the Leopold Street area in partnership with Thanet District Council, following an increase in reports from the public and local businesses about anti-social behaviour.

The DDA will be in force until February 16 2014.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 enables uniformed officers to disperse any group of two or more people found causing intimidation, harassment, alarm or distress in the DDA. Young people, under 16, who are not accompanied by a responsible adult can be taken home.

Offenders who do not comply face fines and/or up to three months in prison.

The DDA includes the multi storey car park, Leopold Street from the Queen Street to the West Cliff Arcade junctions, Cliff Street and Princes Street and the area surrounded by these roads.

PC Sue Turner said: “The local community is understandably frustrated by the nuisance being caused by a minority of people. There has been work carried out in the car park area to try and tackle the anti-social behaviour, including additional security and caging over the lights and windows.

“We now believe that it is the right time to have a dispersal order.”

Council leader Cllr Clive Hart said: ‘The council, working with our partners, is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour in Thanet.

“Introducing a dispersal order will provide officers with additional powers to move on individuals or groups in this area, which we know has been a growing concern for local people.

“Security has been stepped up at the car park recently and designating Leopold Street as a dispersal area reinforces the message that committing anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.”

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