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New powers to tackle groups in ASB hotspots
Friday 30th September, 2011

Measures designed to discourage groups from congregating and causing a nuisance are due to be introduced today (Friday 30th September) in neighbourhoods blighted by serious and persistent anti-social behaviour.

Section 30 Dispersal Zones have already proven an effective tool in tackling anti-social behaviour in ASB hotspots across the borough, and now communities in Atherton and Wigan town centre are also set to benefit.

“A Section 30 gives enhanced powers to police officers and PCSOs which means they can disperse groups from an area by telling them to leave immediately or by a certain deadline,” says Inspector Liz Sanderson of Atherton Neighbourhood Police Team. “They can also tell people who don’t live in the area to leave and not to return for up to 24 hours.”

"The Police will not necessarily disperse groups in this area just for being in a group and we recognise that not all groups are causing a nuisance. This is not an exclusion zone or curfew area but it is designed to make the area a more pleasant, safer place for everyone."

The Section 30s have been implemented following consultation with residents by Wigan Council’s Neighbourhood Team and local Police Neighbourhood Teams in Atherton and Wigan.

As part of these measures, any time after 9.00pm and before 6.00am teenagers below the age of 16 and not under the control of a parent or responsible person over the age of 18 may also be taken home or to an alternative place of safety.

"We are not demonising or targeting any specific groups within the community," says Inspector Glenn Jones of Wigan Neighbourhood Policing Team. "We recognise that young people are often stigmatised, but recent issues in Wigan town centre, and in particular Mesnes Park, relate to adults not young people. We intend to use these powers to target all perpetrators of unacceptable behaviour, especially that which is alcohol-fuelled."

A further provision of the order makes it an offence under Section 30(4) of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 to remain or return to the area having been told to leave, punishable by 3 months imprisonment and/or a fine up to £2,500.

Cllr Kevin Anderson, Wigan Council’s cabinet champion for neighbourhoods, adds:
"Whilst we recognise that many groups are peaceful and law-abiding, there are some who congregate in numbers intent on causing a nuisance, which can be very intimidating for local residents and businesses.

“The Section 30 is a temporary measure which gives agencies a chance to evaluate a longer term solution, whilst affording local communities some respite from the issues. And it sends out a clear message that we will not tolerate harassment in any form.”

Details in regards to the Dispersal Zones, which begin on Friday 30th September 2011 at 00:01am and end on 31st March 2012 at 23:59pm, will be posted in locations where the zones begin, together with guidance about what it means to residents and members of the public.

This action follows the introduction of Dispersal Zones in other locations including Standish, Norley Hall, Tyldesley and Beech Hill, which have resulted in a noticeable drop in anti-social behaviour. Parts of Norley Hall have seen the number of calls to Greater Manchester Police halve, whereas the size of groups in Tyldesley in the problem hotspot has dropped from 50-60 to much smaller groups of 3-4.

The Dispersal Zone in Wigan town centre includes Bridgeman Terrace, Mesnes Park, Delph Street, Kendal Street, Frog Lane, Hallgate, Dorning Street, Great George Street, Wallgate, King Street, King Street West, Market Place, Millgate, Harrogate Street, Riverway and Northway. All land locked within the perimeter of the streets is also part of the Section 30.

For further details in regards to this Section 30 please contact Wigan Neighbourhood Policing Team by calling 0161 856 7124 or emailing wigan.apt@gmp.police.uk

The Dispersal Zone in Atherton includes Mealhouse Lane, Market Street, Leigh Road, Hamilton Street, Stanley Street, Cambridge Street, High Street, Wardoour Street and Tyldesley Road. All land locked within the perimeter of the streets is also part of the Section 30.

For further details in regards to this Section 30 please contact Atherton Neighbourhood Policing Team by calling 0161 856 7319 or emailing atherton.apt@gmp.police.uk

To report non-emergency incidents or to report a crime call 0161 872 5050.
Only call 999 in an emergency where there is a threat to life or a crime in progress.

To report incidents of anti-social behaviour in the area, contact Wigan Council's ASB hotline 01942 404364.

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