The dispersal order has allowed police to instruct groups of two or more people to disperse if they are behaving in an anti-social manner. If the instruction is ignored, the police now have the power to arrest the person. Prosecution can lead to a fine of up to £2,500 or a term of up to three months imprisonment.
And from the early results, it would seem that the scheme does appear to be working. Town council clerk Christine Lane said: “Since the order has been in place the town has been very quiet. There have been much fewer complaints that we have been aware of.”
However, with a shelf life of only four months, the dispersal order is hardly a permanent solution to an ongoing problem. And the question on everyone’s lips is whether the results of the operation will continue once the police presence is withdrawn?