Less troublemakers in Cheltenham town centre since new police powers kicked in
YOBS stopped hanging around the town centre since police were given the power to kick troublemakers out of the area, traders have admitted.
The order allowing police to tell hooligans to leave part of Cheltenham if they were behaving anti-socially came into effect on November 30.
It was part of a crackdown on problems in the lower end of the High Street.
The powers gave officers the right to order people who are behaving in a manner likely to intimidate or alarm others in the area to leave the town centre and not return for 24 hours.
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Anybody who refused to leave the vicinity would be committing a criminal offence and could be arrested.
Problems at four trouble hotspots – St Mary's Churchyard, outside McDonalds, Jenner Gardens and outside Hutchinson's – had included people performing lewd acts, urinating in public, drinking and intimidation. Nigel Pearson, who works at The Furnishing Studio, said the campaign had been a success.
He added: "It has been quieter outside McDonald's and in the churchyard.
"We used to get groups of 30 teenagers outside McDonald's, being aggressive.
"You also don't get so many drunk people hanging around now."
Monica Burls, shop manager at Acorns, has displayed a notice about the dispersal order in the window to warn potential troublemakers.
She said: "I think things have got better.
"We used to have problems with teenagers gathering around the shop at around 5pm. They were using bad language and generally being noisy.
"I see police officers patrolling the streets more often now too."
Cheltenham Borough Council made the six-month order, which was requested by Gloucestershire police following a massive increase in offending in the last 12 months.
Police figures suggested there had been a 15 per cent rise in anti-social behaviour between March and October this year – with 112 incidents recorded – in comparison to the same period in 2011.
The new powers also enable police to escort troublemakers under the age of 16 home to discuss their actions with their parents.