Two new dispersal zones are being introduced in areas of Medway, following complaints from residents about anti social behaviour.

The 24 hour dispersal zones, in the Liberty Park and Twydall Green areas of Medway will come into effect on 1 June until 31 August 2012, to help tackle anti social behaviour by dispersing groups of known trouble makers.

Medway Council has joined forces with Kent Police to introduce the orders, which will give Police Officers, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and Medway Council Enforcement Officers the authority to disperse groups of two or more people and tell those who do not live in the area to leave and not return for up to 24 hours.

Anyone who refuses or breaches the notice can be arrested. It is punishable on conviction of a custodial sentence of up to three months and/or a fine of up to £2,500.

The dispersal notice is a temporary measure until 31 August 2012 and will cover a number of designated roads within the two areas.

The Liberty Park notice includes Weymouth Road, Sword Grove, Juno Way, Omaha Place, Gold Drive, Glimmer Way, Utah Rise and the green space adjacent to Utah Rise.

The Twydall Green dispersal zone will include the whole of Twydall Green, including the rear access roads on the library and post office side up to the boundary of the rear gardens in the Leeds square. The rear access road on the Spar/ Co Op side up to the boundary of the rear gardens in Goudhurst Road, Sandhurst Close and Waltham Road. It will also cover Benenden Manor and the whole of Harbledown Manor.

The decision to introduce the notices comes as a response to engagement with residents in the areas and an increase in reports of anti social behaviour.

The Community Safety Partnership, which includes the council, police and ward PCSOs have already been tackling anti social behaviour in the two areas by increasing their presence and carrying out house visits to those who have been identified as acting in an anti social way around the area.

They have also been dispersing groups acting in an anti social way, but until now, have had no legal authority to do so.

Cllr Mike O’Brien, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Customer Contact and Chair of the Community Safety Partnership, said: “These dispersal zones have been introduced after taking the concerns and needs of our residents into serious consideration.

“By giving officers the power to disperse groups that may be causing a problem, we want to be able to help reduce community tensions and show residents that we are responding to their needs.

“The Community Safety Partnership will not allow the actions of a minority to blight the lives of the law abiding majority and I am confident this step will help us to improve the quality of life for residents in these areas.”

Rachel Adams, Medway Police Commander and Vice Chair of the Community Safety Partnership: “The Dispersal Orders form part of a number of enforcement tactics being used by Medway Police to tackle Anti Social Behaviour in these identified areas.”

“The local Neighbourhood Teams are attending all incidents of Anti Social Behaviour and take responsibility for looking at options and solutions for long term problem solving within their local communities, in conjunction with our colleagues from Medway Council. We will deal robustly with the minority of individuals who persist in disrupting the lives of people within their community and where appropriate, prosecute them for relevant offences.”

Dispersal notice posters highlighting the designated area along with timescales will be placed in the two areas.

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