Grantham Journal letter: I will seek to have dispersal powers made permanent

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As previously mentioned in your newspaper, I welcomed the news that Lincolnshire Police were trialling the use of Dispersal Powers under the new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Since the relaxing of the licensing laws in 2006, many town centres have become virtual no go areas at weekends and evenings due to the excess use of alcohol and anti-social behaviour.

I was therefore disappointed to read that Lincolnshire Police have been criticised for running Operation Stopwatch between November 14 and December 21.

As a retired police officer, I know first hand how hard it can be to police town centres with the added increase of criminal damage, assaults and dealing with drunks.

With only four dispersal orders given, I would say the operation was a success as high visibility policing on the streets of Grantham will always be a deterrent to those considering committing offences.

A breach of these powers can attract a fine of up to £5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to three months. Case studies have shown that using these powers have seen incidents of anti-social behaviour being significantly reduced. These powers are welcomed by front line police officers.

It is unreasonable that law abiding citizens cannot walk around the town centre freely without encountering drunken behaviour. At next month’s Police and Crime Panel meeting, I shall call on the Police Commissioner Alan Hardwick to consider making this trial permanent.

Coun Ray Wootten

SKDC representative

Lincs Police and Crime Panel