Dispersal Order success in South Tyneside
Dated: 23 May 2007
The first Dispersal Order in South Tyneside has been hailed a major success by local people, the council and Northumbria Police.
The order in Biddick Hall started on March 12 and has resulted in 139 dispersal notices issued and 16 arrests. It gave officers the power to disperse groups of two or more people whose behaviour has attracted complaints.
Eleven young people who were found in the area after 9pm were escorted home by officers and letters were sent to their parents.
This is a Safer South Tyneside initiative involving Northumbria Police and the local authority working together to reduce crime and disorder across the borough.
The main impact has been a 41% reduction in calls to the police about criminal damage, down from 113 incidents between March 12 to May 22, last year to 66 incidents in the same period this year with the dispersal order in place.
Before the order Biddick Hall was the worst affected area in South Tyneside for criminal damage and suffered from 10% or 250 offences reported between July and December 2006.
Since April last year there have been 195 complaints of disorder in the dispersal area, which amount to more than a quarter of all complaints to police in the Biddick Hall area.
The dispersal order area around the Fielding Court Shopping Centre has benefitted from additional uniform patrols in the area, funded with £20,000 from the government's Respect agenda.
Neighbourhood Inspector Simon Charlton, for Riverside and West Shields, said: " The dispersal order has proved to be very effective in dealing with a range of problems in the area.
" Residents and local businesses have told us time and again how much better the area has become as a result. The feedback is very positive with most people saying that the neighbourhood is much calmer and overall a nicer place.
" We will continue to monitor the behaviour of people in this area and make sure officers respond accordingly.
" We recognise it's critical to work with our partners to put measures in place to prevent persistent offenders resuming their anti-social behaviour and causing misery."
Councillor Joanne Bell, Lead Member Safer and Stronger Communities, said: " The dispersal order was a first for the borough, and it has been a big success. But it is important to remember that it only forms part of our approach to tackling anti-social behaviour.
" We recognise the need to build on the momentum we have gathered during the period of the Dispersal Order, and that means taking full advantage of opportunities to provide activities for young people in the area.
" We remain committed to sorting out anti-social behaviour, and are working with the police, our partners, and our communities to create a safer South Tyneside for all."
The council is working with people in Biddick Hall to develop plans for a multi-use games area in the neighbourhood as part of the two-year programme of investment from the Government's Cleaner Safer Greener fund to improve neighbourhoods in need.
There are also moves to establish a Biddick Hall Children and Young People's Partnership, and recruitment of young people in the area is ongoing. Once it has been set up, the group will work to bring a wide range of activities to the neighbourhood.
The Council's Youth Inclusion Programme (YIP) operates out of the Percy Hudson Youth Centre and Chuter Ede Community Association and runs a number of diversionary activities for young people in the area in partnership with the Youth Support Service.
The YIP also delivers the Duke of Edinburgh and Mayors Award schemes, which encourage young people to develop skills and help their community.