Police get powers to ‘disperse’ gangs

A hard-line stance is being taken to clear up yob behaviour in Heanor –with police given new powers to disperse gangs of youths.

Officers will who spot more than two under 16s whose behaviour is “likely to result in any members of the public being intimidated, harassed or alarmed or distressed,” in a designated zone around the town centre now have the power to take teens back to their home address.

The zone covers 29 streets known to be notable ‘hotspots’ for criminal damage such as car parks, parks and streets where youths have been gathering.

Sergeant Andrew Phillips of Derbyshire Constabulary, said the force had seen a recent spike in anti-social behaviour around Heanor , which was causing misery for some residents. He said: “It has really made people fearful to go out and feel intimidated - we are just not prepared to go and accept that.”

Sgt Phillips said officers, mainly those on Heanor’s Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team, would take ‘common sense approach’ to ‘removing’ under 16s.

“We don’t want to curfew kids in their own home,” he added. “We won’t just be rounding up teenagers, this order is specifically aimed at the large groups roaming around the town.”

The power, under section 30 of the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003, is to remain in place for six months and will also see the police working with agencies such as the Blend Youth Project and Ozbox.