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Police in Southampton have joined forces with the city council to help reduce anti-social behaviour in parts of the city centre.
From today ( February 1st) a Section 30 Dispersal Order will be implemented in designated areas to deal with any groups of people causing problems. This includes five council car parks in Grosvenor Square, Bedford Place, Eastgate Street, West Park Road and The Marlands.
The initiative is a response to complaints about anti-social behaviour in the area. The Order will run until July 31 and posters outlining the conditions and specific locations that the order applies to will be prominently displayed across the area.
Throughout the duration of the Order, uniformed police officers and PCSOs may give one or more of the following directions to anyone breaching the Order:
Tell people in the group to leave the area (either immediately or by a stated time and in such specified way)
Tell people who don't live in the area to leave (either immediately or by a stated time and in such specified way)
Tell people who don't live in the area not to return to the area or any part of it for such period (not exceeding 24 hours) from when the direction was given, as the officer may specify.
Between 9pm and 6am people under the age of 16 who are not with a parent or a person over the age of 18 may be taken back to their home or place of safety if more appropriate.
Anyone violating the Order commits an offence under Section 30(4) of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 which is punishable by three months imprisonment and/or a fine up to £2,500.
Sector Inspector Ryan Bartlett said: ''This area of the city is a popular location for the city's night-time economy and attracts a significant number of people throughout the week and at weekends. Disappointingly a minority few of these people fail to conduct themselves properly which impacts on others. By implementing the Dispersal Order it provides us with alternative powers to deal with those individuals.''