Gangs could be moved on by police in Cheltenham High Street
TROUBLEMAKERS who congregate in the High Street could be banned from the area for 24 hours as part of a police crackdown.
Officers in Cheltenham's town centre team want to introduce a dispersal order, giving them the power to tell intimidating groups to leave the area.
Traders and residents will be asked for their opinions on the scheme, designed to combat anti-social behaviour.
If given the go ahead, police could ban anyone causing problems.
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The areas covered including St Mary's Churchyard, Jenner Gardens, Clarence Street and the High Street between Primary and Ambrose Street.
Perpetrators who don't follow their instructions risk being arrested. Councillor Barbara Driver (C, Lansdown) believes putting the dispersal order in place would act as a good deterrent.
She said: "It is just about trying to get through to young people especially that if they do misbehave then we can do something about it.
"It is a good thing to put in place for people to understand they really should behave. It is only fair on everybody else."
The dispersal order is part of a wider plan to revamp the area around St Mary's Church, making it a desirable area to visit – rather than one to avoid.
Mrs Driver added: "There is a committee set up working with the church to help make the churchyard a jewel in the town centre's crown.
"This is about seeing what we can do to make it more of a park for people to use.
"We are looking at what can be done to make the churchyard somewhere that people might want to go to relax or to meet.
"Sometimes when there are bunches of kids around, people feel intimidated, even when they are behaving themselves. A lot of people won't go through the churchyard at the moment."
Police want to use the orders for an initial period of six months.
Si Motala, police community support officer for the area, said: "We know that anti-social behaviour is a concern for local people and in our continuing work to address these issues one of the options may be a dispersal order.
"We feel it's really important to get the thoughts and opinions of all members of the community on this proposal and are keen to hear their views."
Brian Crosby, owner of West End Framing and Art in the High Street, is unsure of the plan.
He said: "I rarely have any problem but I am all for trying to raise the standard of the area as a whole. It is pretty rare for me to see any rowdy kids."
To have your say on the plans, call 101 or email Cheltenham. LPA.Communities@Gloucestershire.police.UK.