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Dispersal order set for Thatcham town centre to tackle ASB

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The implementation of the order follows complaints of anti-social behaviour within the vicinity of the Broadway, and concerns raised by both residents and businesses that they are experiencing unacceptable levels of anti -social behaviour.
Thames Valley Police and West Berkshire Council, as part of West Berkshire’s Community Safety Partnership, have signed a Dispersal Order to help tackle the issues.
The dispersal order also has the support of Thatcham Town Council and the ward members for Thatcham.
The Thatcham Dispersal Order will run from Wednesday, May 28, 2014 until Monday, November 27, 2014 and will cover the vicinity of the Broadway, High Street and Crown Mead.
West Berkshire Area Commander for Thames Valley Police, Supt Robin Rickard, confirmed that the order had nothing to do with the recent trouble with people apparently linked with the English Defence League as he said that this incident was being dealt with through the criminal court.
However, he added: "Dispersal orders are a serious step which is carefully thought through following wide consultation with the local community to understand the anti -social behaviour that they are suffering.
"The order in Thatcham is a direct response to concerns and complaints made by people who live, work and socialise in Thatcham; it is clear from the complaints received that a small number of individual’s very poor behaviour is negatively impacting on a large number of people in Thatcham and it is right that the police work with the local community to combat anti -social behaviour."
West Berkshire Council's executive member for community safety, Graham Pask, (Con, Bucklebury), said: "The Dispersal Order makes a strong statement that this behaviour will not be tolerated.
"It is always a few that try to spoil things for everyone and the council fully supports this action."
Dispersal Orders were introduced in 2003 as part of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act.
It is a discretionary power to be used to disperse groups when a Police Officer or Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) has reasonable grounds for believing the presence or behaviour of a group of two or more persons, in any public place in the dispersal zone, has resulted, or is likely to result, in any member of the public being intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed.
Refusal to comply with a direction to leave is a criminal offence which a person can be arrested for. A person can be directed to leave the dispersal zone for a period up to 24-hours and if they return within this period can be arrested.
A map showing the dispersal zone can be found at www.westberks.gov.uk/dispersals

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