Lancashire

Dispersal order targets Preston estates' youths

Police have been given extra powers to break up and arrest groups of people gathering in a area of Preston.

The dispersal order was granted for the Larches and Savick estates after a large number of complaints from residents about anti-social behaviour.

Police said groups of up 20 youths had been shouting, swearing and drinking on the estates in the evening.

Officers now have the power to move them away from the area - and arrest those who return within 24 hours.

Lancashire Police received 370 reports of incidents of anti-social behaviour on the estates between 1 May and 31 October 2010.

'Direct response'

In the same period there were 113 reports of criminal damage and 76 reported assaults.

Neighbourhood policing officer Sgt Helen Dixon said: "This is a direct response to concerns raised by local residents.

"We are committed to addressing the issues that matter to local people and hopefully this will go some way to making people feel safer.

"We have looked at a number of ways at reducing incidents of crime and disorder in the area and have identified this dispersal order as an effective method of deterring and dispersing offenders.

"I hope local residents are reassured that we do listen to their concerns and will take action against anyone found to be behaving inappropriately in the area."

The dispersal order applies to groups of two or more people and runs from 2100 GMT to 0600 GMT for the next six months.

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