Stirling Police have introduced “dispersal zones” to tackle antisocial behaviour by helping them to split up large groups in the city centre.
From October 3, dispersal zones will be set up in the area of the Upper Craigs, Dumbarton Road and Goosecroft Road. They will allow police patrolling the streets to split mobs of people demonstrating antisocial behaviour.
Under the Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004, Police Scotland have a power of dispersal within these zones. This allows them to order groups of two or more in the areas to leave for a period of at least 24 hours or they will face arrest.
These zones will be in operation 24/7 and follow a recent crackdown on crime known as Operation Steadfast.
Superintendent Mark Lundie said, “We are confident that this dispersal zone will enable us to robustly tackle anti-social behaviour, general disorder and drug misuse which have begun to blight the centre of Stirling.
“We have seen an increase in people gathering and causing a nuisance to those who wish to use the city centre for work and leisure, and residents. This behaviour is largely displayed under the influence of drugs and alcohol and we have seen people shouting and swearing, urinating in public, and consuming illicit substances.
“The Dispersal Zone allows us to move on people who are causing a nuisance. I hope that it will make these streets safer and help people to feel safer there. Anyone who is banned will receive a copy of the map so that it is clear where they should not be and they will be arrested and put before the courts if they are found to have returned to continue the same behaviour.”
Councillor Maureen Bennison, convenor of Stirling Council’s Public Safety Committee said the scheme will give police the “power” they need to tackle anti-social behaviour.
She said: “Anti-social behaviour is a blight. It disrupts communities and can have a detrimental impact on business.
“Stirling City Centre has so much to offer our residents and visitors that it is crucial we protect our citizens and businesses to ensure it continues to thrive.
“Introducing this Dispersal Zone will give police the power to take swift action when needed and forms an important part of a range of actions we are taking in partnership to improve city centre safety.
“We know that these powers are not the sole solution, and work needs to be done to tackle this problem at its source, but it is a step in the right direction.”