Police ramp up action to tackle drugs, vandalism and violence in Hilsea by setting up dispersal order

CRIMINAL damage, drug-related activity, and public order offences in Hilsea have forced officers to issue a dispersal order.

Monday, 30th May 2022, 3:54 pm
Updated Monday, 30th May 2022, 3:55 pm

The law, issued today for the Howard Road area, gives police the ability to move people on and stop them from returning within 48 hours.

Officers have been conducting extra patrols in the area, with Hilsea ward councillor Scott Payter-Harris claiming residents have been ‘scared to go out of their homes’.

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Councillor claims residents 'scared to go out of their homes' in areas of Hilsea...

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The dispersal order, issued today at 4pm, will cover the Howard Road area of Hilsea, including Northern Parade and Matapan Road.

Police Sergeant Lewis Swan, who covers Hilsea, Copnor, Drayton and Farlington, said most of the trouble has been caused by youngsters.

He said: ‘We are aware that these incidents are being caused by a very small minority of our young population, and having spoken to and worked alongside the local communities on this issue, we know how much this anti-social behaviour is impacting on people’s lives.

‘This is simply not acceptable.

‘While we have ensured that we have extended our patrols in the area, we also feel that making use of these powers to disperse groups of people will help us further to tackle this issue on this occasion.’

St Francis Church, in St Francis Crescent, Hilsea, had one of its outside walls brought down by vandals. Police launched Operation Relief over the weekend, increasing officer patrols in the Howard Road area. GV.

The order, which covers Northern Parade, Alex Way and Matapan Road – among other streets – came into force at 4pm today .

It will be lifted on Wednesday at 3.59pm.

As previously reported in The News, Cllr Scott Payter-Harris said gangs and people riding mopeds overnight were frightening people, and extra patrols were necessary.

He said: ‘It’s a really good thing because residents have been telling us they’re scared to go out of their homes.

Councillor Scott Paytor-Harris, of Hilsea ward, said Hilsea Community Centre, in Howard Road, was 'substantially' vandalised at the end of April. Picture: Google Street View.

‘The residents have been telling us gangs of people have been walking round the streets at night, which is causing a significant problem.

‘It’s intimidating for people.’

The new powers issued to officers, under the Section 34 dispersal order, allows them to stop people from loitering in the streets.

It is a criminal offence not to comply.

Anyone under 16 will be taken back to their home address by police.

Hampshire police said they will be working with local communities, housing providers, landlords, and local businesses, to come up with a long term solution.

A number of incidents have taken place near Howard Road, including vandals knocking down a church wall and damaging a community centre.