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New police powers “not about making Verwood a youth-free zone”
DISPERSAL powers to tackle antisocial behaviour in Verwood are not about making it a “youth-free zone”, councillors have said.
The move follows a rise in antisocial behaviour and criminal damage in the town and the powers will allow officers to direct anyone behaving inappropriately away from Verwood and the Potterne area.
The order also allows police to take home any under 16s who are found acting antisocially or affected by others behaving antisocially in a public place in the town between 9pm and 6am.
Sgt Nicola Loftus said: “These powers will give officers additional measures to deal effectively, robustly and promptly with antisocial behaviour in the area designated.”
“Our message is clear. We will not tolerate antisocial behaviour. The Verwood and Potterne community deserve better.”
Cllr Toni Coombs, who sits on the town, district and county councils, said the issue was brought to the Local Action Group in July.
“It is not about making Verwood a youth-free zone, it’s about making sure that everyone that is using the facilities in the area, including those used by young people, are safe and people don’t feel intimidated.”
Verwood resident Ann Shewan, 50, welcomed anything that tackles antisocial behaviour in the town, but added: “There is absolutely nothing for them to do and nowhere for them to go. I think they need to stop running Verwood for old people.
“I have 20 lads around my house every weekend and they never cause any trouble – they simply don’t have anywhere else.”
Resident Jim Rees, 63, said: “I have seen young people here at the recreation ground, they do cause problems sometimes but not very often.
“I don’t think it is a good idea because Verwood is a nice place to live and we shouldn’t be pushing people away. We should be giving them somewhere to go.”
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