A DISPERSAL zone will be put in place in New Brighton this weekend as part of a police crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

The order, effective from 8pm today and end at 8pm on Sunday, is in response to recent reports of anti-social behaviour and youths gathering in the area.

It comes under Section 34/35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour & Policing Act 2014 which gives police officers and police community support traffic officers powers to direct people they suspect "are causing or likely to cause crime, nuisance or anti-social behaviour to members of the public to leave a designated area for up to 48 hours".

The area covered includes Kings Parade, Coastal Drive, Harrison Park and Warren Park.

Community Policing Inspector Paul Harrison told the Globe: "We're keenly aware of the significant impact that anti-social behaviour can have on individuals and communities, and we will be targeting people we suspect of being involved in this type of behaviour in the area.

"Over the last few nights and weeks, we have been called to this area to reports of youths gathering.

"Last night officers were called to two incidents of assault in this area, in which a 26-year-old man and an 18-year-old man were injured.

"An 18-year-old man from Oxton was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and affray and remains in police custody.

"The vast majority of people who use this area are law-abiding members of the community, and I just want to remind them that this order is not about bothering people going about their legitimate daily business.

"The dispersal zone gives us the powers we need to deal effectively with people and I would urge anyone in the area with any information about anti-social behaviour, or criminal activity in their area to contact.”

Related story: https://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/18543879.call-new-brighton-dips-become-dispersal-zone/

He added: "We would like to thank the vast majority of you who are adhering to social distancing measures and protecting the wider community from the virus as well as those who are continuing to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour and reporting it to us.

“It has never been more important than now to ensure that we all follow government advice, in place specifically for the safety of those living in Merseyside.”

Cllr Ian Lewis, who had called for a dispersal zone to be in place, told the Globe: "The patience of residents and councillors had been pushed to the limit and last night’s anti social behaviour and violence was the final straw.

"I'm grateful to the 200 people who have backed our call for a Dispersal Order and to the Council and Police for acting quickly to minimise issues this weekend.

"I hope we can now look to a longer term solution, including alcohol consumption and the availability of the so-called ‘hippy crack’ cannisters from nearby stores."

Wirral Council leader, Cllr Pat Hackett, told the Globe: "There have been ongoing problems at the Dips, which have become even worse in recent nights due to the good weather and the perception amongst many people that the restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic no longer apply to them.

"Their behaviour is unacceptable and irresponsible and is an insult not only to the nearby residents having to put up with it, but also to law-abiding visitors who just want to use the Dips at their leisure.

"The council has limited powers to stop gatherings or disperse people. However, we have been calling on the police to take stronger action in this area.

"I'm pleased to say that this weekend the police has made the area around the Dips, and around Harrison Park and Warren Park, a Dispersal Zone.

"That will give them the power to order anyone over the age of 10 out of the area if they are contributing to criminal or anti-social behaviour and will give them the power of arrest if they return once ordered to leave.

"I welcome this action for the coming weekend and will encourage the police to look at further using these orders in the short term.

"In the meantime, I have asked council officers to look into the potential for implementing a Public Space Protection Order in this area for the remainder of the summer.

"We have also put in place a number of additional bulk bins around the Dips to encourage people to dispose of their own litter in the right manner and not just leave it behind on the grass for others to clear up.

"Biffa, supported by council staff and local volunteers, are doing an amazing job picking up litter every day, but they shouldn’t have to – there are is more than enough bin capacity in this area now, but even if they were full, people should still take their litter home with them and put it in their bin there."