Big Brother’ style policing under fire

THE Mayor of Huntingdon will today (Wednesday) ask the district council to relax a town dispersal order which he believes is too heavy-handed for youngsters. The order, which allows police to move on groups of young people in the town centre who are be

THE Mayor of Huntingdon will today (Wednesday) ask the district council to relax a town dispersal order which he believes is too "heavy-handed" for youngsters.

The order, which allows police to move on groups of young people in the town centre who are believed to be acting in an anti-social manner, was also described as "an infringement on civil liberties" at the meeting of Huntingdon Youth Town Council.

Now Cllr Jeff Dutton is aiming to quash some of the order's powers.

He told The Hunts Post: "I intend to ask Huntingdonshire District Council at the full council meeting today to relax the dispersal order as I think it is too heavy-handed and goes too far.

"It was meant to stop vandalism in the town and the intimidation of people by youths but it is preventing youngsters from socialising."

The dispersal order was granted on November 8 by Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Huntingdonshire District Council in partnership with Huntingdon Town Council and is intended to remain in place for six months. The order was made due to the number of complaints of anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

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The order covers the town centre area, bounded by the ring road, and gives police officers and police community support officers the power to move groups of two or more individuals if they are believed to be acting in an anti-social manner.

It they refuse they can be arrested.

Cllr Dutton said he has had several youngsters complain to him about the order.

He added: "It is stupid, heavy-handed, Big Brother-style policing and I am not happy.

"The town council agreed in principle to the idea of a dispersal order but we think it is too much and is moving the problem out of the town centre into Brampton and Godmanchester, which doesn't solve the problem.

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