POLICE have brought in new powers to stamp out on-going trouble in part of Cowplain.
A large group of youths who congregate in Mission Lane car park, in Cowplain, are believed to be responsible for vandalism and nuisance behaviour in the area.
Now, for the first time, a Section 30 dispersal order has been used in Havant, which means police can move on groups of two or more people if they believe they are causing trouble.
The problems have caused several businesses, including Malcolm Crook’s Clarion Design, to shell out hundreds of pounds to repair damage to the properties.
Mr Crook said: ‘Youngsters tend to congregate around the car park and get up to no good.
‘We have had our window broken and things thrown at the side of the building.
‘We had our wooden fence around the property broken and pulled down and the PDSA had its smashed up and pulled down. It’s general vandalism.
‘The problem is it’s a well-lit car park and therefore a good place for people to congregate.
‘We fitted shutters on the front of our building when the window was broken because we felt that was the best thing to do.
‘We spent a few hundred pounds on that.
‘They start congregating at around the time we’re getting ready to leave for the day and it makes you not want to go home and leave the property empty.
‘I do hope it’s going to work. It has certainly been a lot quieter in the past few weeks.’
The dispersal order, which is granted under powers set out in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, was jointly submitted by the Police Safer Neighbourhood Team and Havant Borough Council.
It officially came into effect on Monday.
The order means police can act if a group’s behaviour has resulted, or is likely to result, in a member of the public being harassed, intimidated, alarmed or distressed.
Councillor David Collins, who is in charge of neighbourhood development at Havant Borough Council, said: ‘This is the first order of its kind to be implemented in the borough.
‘It reinforces the message that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and will be stamped out.’
Sergeant Simon Watts said: ‘This dispersal order is another great example of an effective partner agency approach in tackling anti-social behaviour in our community.
‘We have worked closely with local residents in applying for this order.
‘Together we can tackle anti-social behaviour and we hope that it will improve the quality of life for everyone living in the area.
‘We are committed to stamping out anti-social behaviour wherever it occurs, and this kind of response shows that the police and council will robustly deal with those that continue to be a blight on the community in this way.’
Anyone who witnesses trouble making in the area should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
In an emergency always dial 999.