EXTRA police powers to break up gangs of late-night drinkers are working after just two weeks, say residents.
Police have used a dispersal order in St Clement’s to break up groups four times since the order came into force on Monday, August 11.
But they have not had to use the power it grants to arrest someone for returning to the area within 48 hours, suggesting the threat is potent enough.
Anchor Court resident Leatrice Beeson, 90, said the area looked “much cleaner”.
She said: “I haven’t seen any layabouts recently. The place looks fantastic. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was working.”
Police introduced the order after receiving 275 complaints about drunken behaviour and drug abuse in St Clement’s this year.
Another Anchor Court resident, Pamela Rogers, complained before that gangs of late-night drinkers by the river behind The Queen’s College’s Florey building were making life miserable and keeping her awake at night.
Now, she said, the gangs were gone.
Miss Rogers, 67, said: “We haven’t seen them in the last week or so, it seems to have got a lot quieter.”
It is the first time Oxford has had two dispersal order zones at one time since they were created by the 2003 Anti-Social Behaviour Act.
The other, at Speedwell Street, was renewed for a further six months from the same date after it proved effective.
As well as granting police the power to break up groups of more than two, it also allows officers to escort home any unaccompanied under-16 found in the area.
Thames Valley Police anti-social behaviour officer Mike Ellis said officers had welcomed the extra powers.
He said: “Four or five officers told me they have used the powers; it is really welcome.”
There had been no reports of rises in anti-social behaviour in neighbouring areas.
According to the force, police had also used the powers to break up gangs in the Speedwell Street zone, but had made no arrests there either.
The last time a dispersal order had been used in the city was in Rose Hill eight years ago.
WHAT IT MEANS
SECTIONS 30-36 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 (ASBA) gave police in England and Wales powers to disperse groups of two or more people from areas where there is persistent anti-social behaviour, as well as take home under-16s on the streets in a dispersal zone between 9pm and 6am who are not accompanied by a parent or responsible adult.
A new Anti-Social, Crime and Policing Bill, which would overwrite current dispersal orders, was introduced to the House of Commons last year. s That bill is expected to receive Royal Assent by the end of the year.
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
- Our top stories
UPDATED: Fifty homes affected as burst water main causes significant flooding in Normandy Crescent in Oxford
7:37am Tuesday 23rd September 2014
A WATER main has burst in an Oxford street causing significant flooding this morning.
1:20pm Tuesday 23rd September 2014
A MAN has appeared in court charged with raping a woman in Headington over the weekend.
Police force will not lose 400 officers says chief constable despite police and crime commissioner claim
12:32pm Tuesday 23rd September 2014
THE Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police has said the force is not set to lost 400 officers despite claims made by Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld at the weekend.
UPDATE: Delays on rail services between Oxford and London after two killed by train in "suspicious incident"
9:55am Tuesday 23rd September 2014
There are delays on rail services to London after a two people were killed when they were hit by a train in Slough.
11:10am Tuesday 23rd September 2014
A MAN has been charged after a woman was raped in a flat in Headington on Saturday and another woman attacked in South Park on Sunday.
8:40am Tuesday 23rd September 2014
A ROAD shut after a car was engulfed in flames has now fully reopened.