Police forced youngsters to leave area around Jubilee Park, Ipswich with special powers after anti-social behaviour
- Credit: Su Anderson
A police power usually called upon to move on drunken revellers from busy town centres has been used to deal with a group of anti-social youngsters in a troubled part of Ipswich.
After reports of the crowd’s behaviour in the Jubilee Park area of the town on Thursday evening officers used authority from an inspector to force them to move on.
It comes after a day of action last month in the same borough ward, Westgate, which was aimed at tackling a range of criminal issues.
Julian Gibbs, a councillor representing the area on Ipswich Borough Council, said the sort of behaviour reported was unacceptable but work was being done to improve resilience and relationships within the ward.
Around 6.30pm on Thursday police were made aware of youths behaving anti-socially, including banging on residents’ doors, and used powers given to them under a crime-fighting act of parliament.
It meant they could force those misbehaving to leave the area for 48 hours – and if they refused to or returned before then, they would be arrested.
Inspector Garry Miller at Suffolk Constabulary explained how it worked.
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“It’s basically to say within this area there is anti-social behaviour causing issues for local residents the police can direct people to leave that area.
“We have one in place every Friday and Saturday night in the town centre area.”
Insp Miller said any use of the power had to come from an inspector in writing, adding officers also had the power to take under 16s home to their parents if they did not comply with the order.
“It’s a last resort,” he said. “When we issue a dispersal order we also support it with some additional resources. We increased the police presence in the area and it seems to have done the trick.
“We have used them there on previous occasions to good effect but primarily we can resolve them with additional police officer presence.”
Mr Gibbs said he was made aware of the trouble at a meeting on Friday.
“They did mention there had been an incident at Jubilee Park where there was a group of youngsters who were active which us distressing for residents and it’s unacceptable,” he said.
“Residents have said this before, people go down there and cause problems.
“It’s unfortunate. It’s something we have got a lot of work around there and I would not want to see the problems escalate.”
Mr Gibbs did add however the problem was not new – meaning they were already working towards solutions addressing anti-social behaviour.
He said: “If it wasn’t something we were aware of it would be concerning. “There are a number of youth related organisations we are working with at the moment like St Giles Trust, the YMCA and 4YP.
“These are working with the council and the police to address the issues there.
“It’s trying to encourage that resilience, we are building all that up so people are more confident about speaking to us and the police.”
Thursday’s use of the dispersal order lasted until 6.29pm on Saturday.