Confusion over dispersal orders

RESIDENTS in South East Ipswich are today being urged to call police after admitting they are confused as to when to contact them about problem areas where dispersal orders are in place.

RESIDENTS in South East Ipswich are today being urged to call police after admitting they are confused as to when to contact them about problem areas where dispersal orders are in place.

At a meeting of the South East Area Forum Committee many residents said they were unsure of when the problems were bad enough to call police.

But police have encouraged residents to call them whenever they feel there is a problem.

Dispersal orders were put in place earlier this month, enabling police to break up problem groups of youth, banning them from certain areas.

But at a public meeting of the committee at Gainsborough Sports Centre yesterday anti-Social behaviour was named as the number one problem for most people.

One woman, who did not wish to be named, said a group of youths had sat on the wall of the Gainsborough Library shouting abuse at her and trying to get her to retaliate but she thought the abuse was too tame compared to what it used to be.

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Another man said he had passed a group of youths outside the post office in Reynolds Road early one afternoon. They were drinking cans of beer and making a nuisance of themselves but not carrying out any criminal activity.

Pc Pete Haddock, a beat officer in Gainsborough, said: "The problem is that because things have been worse in these areas in the past, people do not think they should call the police in these kinds of situations.

"However, although we have put a lot of resources into these areas we are still reliant on these communities calling us with their concerns. If an incident is enough to make you feel uncomfortable then give us a ring. The orders mean we can finally do something about it."

Holywells beat officer, Andrew Blacker, said: "When Holywells School was in special measures I had to go into the school every week. Although it is out of special measures now I still go into the school so that I get to know pupils.

"Then if there are any problems on the streets I am likely to know who it is causing the problems."

The consultation was the first to use the area forum meetings to gain insight into what problems the residents would like to see addressed.

Chief Inspector Chris Mayhew added that if people phoned in to report problems at the time they would all be logged. Even if action were not taken immediately it can be researched and police will be more aware about the situation.

n. How do you think the dispersal orders are working? Write to us at Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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