A DISPERSAL order which was designed to combat anti-social behaviour in Huntingdon town centre has been renewed for a further six months. The renewal follows complaints from business and visitors to the town centre about groups of people acting anti-socia
A DISPERSAL order which was designed to combat anti-social behaviour in Huntingdon town centre has been renewed for a further six months.
The renewal follows complaints from business and visitors to the town centre about groups of people acting anti-socially. The order allows the police to tackle the problem by requesting any culprits to disperse.
However, many school children and young adults in Huntingdon believe the order has infringed on their free movement in town.
Cambridgeshire police could not provide any figures for how many times the dispersal order has been used.
However, the original order sparked an on-line petition against its use, attracting more than 200 signatures, mainly from school children.
Sergeant Jayne Maggs, from the Huntingdon and district neighbourhood policing team, said: "There has been some confusion over the powers of the dispersal order and why it has been placed in the town centre.
"The order is not about preventing people from hanging around the town centre and is certainly not just aimed at youths.
"It was placed following a number of incidents of criminal damage and harassment in the area and is aimed merely at those who behave anti-socially."
She added: "The order is proving to be successful in reducing the number of anti-social incidents in the town centre and I hope that with its renewal this will continue.
"Everyone who lives in, works in or visits the town centre has the right to do so without fear of harassment or intimidation."
The order means officers can ask anyone causing or thought likely to cause intimidation or harassment to leave the area or face arrest.
Derek Hiscoke, from HBAC (Huntingdon Business Against Crime), said: "Members of HBAC fully support the extension of the dispersal order.
"We hope the renewal of the order will drive home to those who behave anti-socially in the town centre that this type of behaviour is unacceptable.