POLICE in Verwood are launching a crackdown on anti-social behaviour for the second summer in a row.

Officers used dispersal powers last year to move on groups behaving inappropriately which led to a 50 per cent reduction in offences.

Now they are stepping up patrols and urging members of the public to report any incidents.

Last year police used their section 30 dispersal powers on eight occasions. Two of these instances involved a person under the age of 16.

Officers also issued 20 dispersal notices under Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006. This power is available to officers as a tool to tackle alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and nuisance. Total recorded crime in Verwood halved from 58 reports in July 2013 to 27 in August 2013. The force also saw a fall in the number of reports of anti-social behaviour during the same period.

Safer Neighbourhood Police Sergeant Nicola Loftus said: “The problem needed fairly robust policing as a core group of people were showing a total disregard for the community. This resulted in an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) being made on one individual and an acceptable behaviour contract on another.

“Fortunately, since the end of the summer last year, the number of reported incidents of anti-social behaviour has reduced dramatically.

“With the lighter evenings and more opportunity for people to be out on the streets and in open spaces we would ask that any anti-social behaviour is quickly reported to the police on 101 to ensure we do not have a repeat of the problems of last year.

“I would also like to remind anyone considering acting in this way that Dorset Police will not tolerate this level of nuisance within East Dorset and we will take action against you.”

Dorset Police are working with partners, including the Dorset Youth Service, Synergy Housing Association and the East Dorset Community Safety Team, to ensure that young people are kept safe and not encouraged to get involved in anti-social behaviour.