October 25, 2022 4.16 pm This story is over 18 months old

Dispersal order sends Carlton Centre gangs packing

It became a criminal offence not to leave the area when instructed

Lincoln’s Carlton Centre has enjoyed a weekend of peace after a dispersal order forced anti-social youths to move on.

Police took action after reports of young people intimidating shoppers and stealing for fun.

The 48-hour order made it a criminal offence for people to not leave the area when instructed.

Businesses on the shopping centre didn’t have to call the police all weekend as a result, Abbey ward Councillor Martin Christopher said.

He’s hopeful that dispersal orders can be used to tackle problems in the future.

“A lot of people said they were uncomfortable because of the gangs of youths swearing, being aggressive, fighting and blatantly shoplifting,” Councillor Christopher said.

“Shops on the Carlton Centre suffer greatly from shoplifting – it’s a massive burden which puts the prices up for everyone else.

“One young girl was even attacked – unfortunately it can be very difficult to gather evidence when there is a group of 15 youths.

McDonald’s was one area of anti-social behaviour | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

“The feedback from shops has been that the dispersal order has worked, and they didn’t have any problems all weekend.”

He said the main gang responsible for the problems are believed to be behind a spate of arsons in nearby Greetwell Quarry during the summer.

“You will never get rid of the problem entirely until there’s proper engagement for young people in the area,” he said.

“But we’ve proven that dispersal orders can deal with this particular group, and we can gather evidence to bring it back if things escalate again.

“PCSO James Lingard and the Abbey ward Community Policing Team have been extremely supportive in helping us tackle this problem. It’s a real win for the area.”

If anyone witnesses anti-social behaviour in the area, they are encouraged to report it on 101. These could help build a case for future dispersal orders.

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