Speedwell Street dispersal order renewed

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First published in News

POLICE have renewed an order which gave them power to curb antisocial behaviour near city centre homeless shelters.

The six-month dispersal order in the Speedwell Street area was introduced in January and gave officers the power to order troublemakers to stay away and break up groups of two or more people.

Now Thames Valley Police and Oxford City Council have agreed the order will be in place again from Monday for another six months.

Inspector Andy Thompson said the threat of the order had been a useful tool and had been used nine times, leading to two arrests.

He said: “There has been a noticed improvement.”

He also said there had not been a rise in antisocial behaviour outside the dispersal zone, which had been feared.

But he said the redevelopment of the Luther Court site and the blocking of a back entrance to the O’Hanlon House shelter had also helped to cut antisocial behaviour.

Lesley Dewhurst, chief executive of Oxford Homeless Pathways, which runs the hostel in Luther Street, welcomed the renewal.

She said: “It is great the police have been trying to be proactive with this and we will support whatever they do.”

The dispersal order covers Speedwell Street, Luther Street, Butterwyck Place, and Cromwell Road. It means a police officer or PCSO can order a group of two or more people to disperse, order anyone who does not live in the area to leave, or to leave and not return for 24 hours.

If they do not comply, they could be fined up to £2,500 or jailed for three months.

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