Teenagers caaught with new powers

TWO teenagers clashed with police just hours after new powers to control gangs of yobs came into force, a court heard.The two boys, aged 13 and 15, appeared before magistrates in Ipswich charged with breaching a dispersal order made by police on Monday.

TWO teenagers clashed with police just hours after new powers to control gangs of yobs came into force, a court heard.

The two boys, aged 13 and 15, appeared before magistrates in Ipswich charged with breaching a dispersal order made by police on Monday.

The boys, who cannot be named, had both been part of groups of youngsters told to leave the Reynolds Road area of Ipswich by police who were using the new powers, which come under the 2003 Anti Social Behaviour Act.

Dispersal orders mean officers can ban groups of youngsters, or individuals, from a designated area for 24 hours. Suffolk Police had previously announced both Reynolds Road and Queen's Way would be subject to the orders from Monday onwards.

Prosecutor David Taylor said: "The two areas the police are concerned about are Reynolds Road and Queen's Way. In recent times the behaviour in these areas has deteriorated to such an extent it is causing distress to local residents and businesses."

The court was told the boys had both been told to leave Reynolds Road at around 7pm but had continued to stand in another nearby road.

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The 15-year-old boy had been abusive to officers and had shouted and sworn at them, Mr Taylor told the court.

"Once the order was explained to them and they were asked to leave the area he swore at the police officers again. He did move but just out of the area, he was just over the boundary.

"He continued to shout and scream and eventually was asked to calm down.

"A little while later he was seen to walk onto Russell Road and continued to shout and scream at the officers. He was arrested but didn't take kindly to that and was shouting, swearing and fighting with the officer."

The younger boy had also been seen returning to Russell Road on his bike and was subsequently arrested.

Both boys admitted breaching the order and in mitigation Ian Duckworth said the 15-year-old had returned to the road to talk to his grandmother who he had seen in a car.

The other had wanted to go to a nearby park and had thought it was alright if he cycled through Russell Road to get there, he said.

The 13-year-old was sentenced to a three month referral order, which means he must help draw up and agree to a contract of suitable behaviour and take part in designated activities to help prevent further offences.

The 15-year-old was sentenced to a 12-hour reparation order which means he must take part in activities to repair the harm caused to the community by his behaviour. This could include cleaning up graffiti or other community work.

What is a dispersal order?

A dispersal order is a designated area, agreed with the local authority, where there is persistent antisocial behaviour and a problem with groups causing intimidation.

Once a senior police officer and the local authority have identified the area, they have to publicise the fact. The order can remain in force for up to six months.

In these areas, police and community support officers can disperse groups where their presence or behaviour has resulted, or is likely to result, in a member of the public being harassed, alarmed or distressed. The individuals can then be excluded from the area for up to 24 hours.

It is an offence to ignore a dispersal order, although being asked to leave the area is not an offence in its own right.

There is also a discretionary power allowing police or community support officers to take children home after 9pm if they are not under the control of an adult.

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