Lincolnshire Police will trial new powers to disperse nighttime trouble-makers in Lincoln, and arrest them if they breach their area exclusion.
As part of Operation Stopwatch, Lincoln and Grantham city centres will be targeted by local forces’ set exclusion zones from 6pm on Fridays until 6am on Sundays.
Anyone suspected of causing harassment or distress will receive a written direction to leave, and not come back for a set time. Breaching this will lead to an arrest.
A six-week trial period has been set between Friday, November 14 and Sunday, December 21, after which an analyses will be conducted to determine the operation’s effectiveness.
The operation has been designed to make best use of the new dispersal powers available under the newly implemented Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB), Crime and Policing Act 2014.
The trial targets dealing with alcohol related ASB, crime and disorder related to the ‘night time economy’ in the busy town centres.
Lincoln and Grantham are the areas deemed most popular for pubs/clubs/bars open and police say evidence suggests the periods chosen can result in more incidents of disorder and ASB.
Inspector Gareth Whitelock said: “This operation is focussed on proactively using the new dispersal powers during the weekend night time economy with a view to preventing and combating alcohol related anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder.
“In a nutshell – The new dispersal powers allow an Inspector or above to authorise a ‘dispersal notice’ for a specific area for up to 48 hours where there is evidence that there may be a likelihood of ASB or disorder that could cause harassment, alarm and distress to persons.
“Once a dispersal notice is in place an officer in uniform can issue a ‘direction to leave’ (a written direction) to a person who is causing (or likely to cause) harassment, alarm, distress or is acting in a disorderly manner.
“This then requires them to leave the specified area for the duration of the notice period (or less if the issuing officer states so). If a person breaches this direction it is a criminal offence and they can be arrested.
“It is particularly important to embed good working practices in relation to this new legislation, as the commonly used direction to leave derived from Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 has now been repealed.
“We welcome people enjoying a night out, however would like to remind everyone that they have a responsibility to act in a manner that does not cause unnecessary harassment, alarm or distress to others.”