The implementation of a dispersal zone in Stirling city centre has been praised by police and local leaders after the number of reported anti-social behaviour incidents in the zone has dropped, suggesting the implementation of the zone was successful.
Chief Inspector Gill Boulton, the Local Area Commander for Stirling confirmed that 89 people were dispersed and that a number of arrests were made after people failed to comply with the order. The dispersal zone also managed to identify several “repeat offenders who insist on causing concerns for local residents and businesses.”
Boulton has said that the police will now proceed with anti-social behaviour orders for those repeat offenders.
The dispersal zone was in operation from the 3 October 2018 to the 3 January 2019 and covered Goosecroft Road to the east, Stirling Castle Esplanade to the north, Dumbarton Road to the west and Upper Craigs to the south.
The dispersal zone was a part of the wider Operation Steadfast, a joint Stirling Council and Police Scotland operation which was introduced to tackle anti-social behaviour in Stirling. The original operation ran during the summer between June and July, then reintroduced for the University of Stirling’s Fresher’s week, and during the Christmas period.
Chief Inspector Boulton said; “The work of ‘Operation Steadfast’ and the Dispersal Order has led to a significant decline in reports of disorder and anti-social behaviour and has enabled patrolling in identified hot spots based upon information we have gathered. Feedback from those living and working in Stirling has been overwhelmingly positive and we remain committed to working with our partners to maintain this momentum.”
Police were confident that the zone would be successful, in September 2018, one month before the dispersal zone came into effect, 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.
Political leaders in Stirling have praised the dispersal zone and have vowed to continue to support police operations to keep Stirling safe and combat anti-social behaviour.
Stephen Kerr MP said, “I know the dispersal zone was controversial with some when it was introduced by the Police but it has contributed to a decline in anti-social behaviour in the area. I welcome this and the continued efforts to ensure our city centre is safe for everyone. Having these powers comes with a responsibility that they are used proportionately. I will keep getting regular updates from the Police regarding their operations and how effective they are.”
Bruce Crawford MSP added, “These reported results are encouraging, and I pleased that the Police are taking a proactive approach to tackling anti-social behaviour in our city centre.
“Stirling’s centre is a great place to live, work and visit, but it can take just a couple of individuals to ruin that for people.
A Stirling Council spokesperson said: “The city centre dispersal order is one of a range of measures implemented by Police Scotland, Stirling Council and other partners to address anti-social behaviour.
“It gave Police Scotland the power to take swift action when needed and their statistics indicate this is a step in the right direction to deal with the issue.”
Political leaders in Stirling have said that they will cooperate and remain in contact with Police Scotland regarding the issue of anti-social behaviour in Stirling.