Saturday, 15 September 2007

LONDON/LAMBETH: Lambeth dispersal zone to tackle anti-social behaviour

Lambeth dispersal zone to tackle anti-social behaviour

Tough measures to tackle anti-social behaviour in Streatham will be coming into force on September 11 in the form of Lambeth's second 'dispersal area'.

The Safer Lambeth Partnership hopes to tackle street drinking, noise offences, intimidation and inappropriate sexual behaviour within the zone, following complaints from local people.

Groups of people displaying anti-social behaviour within the area, which includes the St Leonard’s Churchyard and Streatham Green, could be dispersed by the police or community support officers.

They also run the risk of arrest if they breach the enforced conditions.

Earlier in the year the Partnership, consisting of the council, police and other agencies, established Lambeth's first dispersal zone in Brixton.

Three months on, the measure has already led to positive results, with local people reporting a decrease in anti-social behaviour in the area.

Cllr Mark Bennett, cabinet member for safer communities at Lambeth Council, said: "We've listened to local residents and we want the perpetrators to know that blatant disregard for the well-being of their local community has consequences. This new zone will help us to identify ring leaders and take tough action in dealing with further acts of anti-social behaviour."

Lambeth Council has already invested in Streatham Green to improve the environment for the enjoyment of local residents. Improvements have included the creation of a grassed area, new walkways, modern mood lighting and granite seats.

The dispersal zone will cover St Leonard's Churchyard, Streatham Green, and the stretch of Mitcham Lane, Tooting Bec Gardens and Streatham High Road between the two.

Within the designated areas the police and police community support officers will have the power to:

* Disperse groups where the relevant officer has reasonable grounds for believing that their presence or behaviour has resulted, or is likely to result, in a member of the public from being harassed, intimidated, alarmed or distressed. Individuals can be directed to leave the locality and may be excluded from the area for up to 24 hours.

* A police officer or PCSO has a discretionary power, within a designated area, to return young people under 16 home, if they are out on the streets and not under the control of an adult, after 9pm.

The dispersal area will operate from 11 September 2007 until March 11 2008.

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