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Dispersal zone to cut anti-social behaviour on the Cally

February 19, 2011

The police now have a special power to disperse young people behaving anti-socially in this hotspot of recent trouble.

After weeks of anti-social behaviour concentrated on the Bemerton estate and streets east of Cally Road, a dispersal zone came into force yesterday, February 17th.

Since Christmas there has been a further build-up of aggressive anti-social behaviour by teenagers. Cally councillors called for the special powers to be used on the estate and have welcomed the extra attention the area has now received from the police service.

The powers granted to the police allow them to remove any group of people gathered within the dispersal zone who are involved in antisocial behaviour or causing trouble or problems for other people. A Police Officer or a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) can direct them to “disperse” or leave the designated area and not return for up to 24 hours. Anyone aged under 16 years who is not in the company of a responsible adult may be escorted home or taken to a place of safety. The dispersal order

The dispersal order – which will remain in force for 3 months – is one part of a determined campaign to rid the Cally of persistent anti-social behaviour. Cally Councillors are backing Homes for Islington, BVMO (the Bemerton estate tenant management organisation) and Team Cally who are working together with the police and local youth projects.

The police and Council are methodically working to identify offenders and so far have brought action against 18 individuals or their parents. In the past weeks, a further three tenants who are parents of individuals responsible for ASB in the area are due to have Possession notices served against them for failing to bring their kids under control.

Meanwhile the Sparkplug project on Pembroke Street has started diversionary activities whilst BVMO and Team Cally have received funding from the council for a young people’s construction training project. Twelve young people aged 16-18 will gain work experience whilst the estate and its residents will benefit from improvements to the green space. It will start in March and run for 12 weeks.

Paul Convery says “The majority of youths who have been recently massing around the Cally most weekday afternoons and at weekends are not from this neighbourhood. The police have identified many of the kids and traced them back home to places like Tufnell Park and Camden Town. Paradoxically, they come down to the Cally because they feel ‘safe’ here. But they make a lot of other people feel very unsafe, especially older people and younger kids. At weekends especially they cause considerable damage as the all-too-regular Monday morning updates from the BVMO caretakers testify. Vandalised stairwells, graffiti, broken lights, windows and damaged cars have been increasingly commonplace. It’s time for the neighbourhood to get some respite and the dispersal zone will provide this.”

A question and answer briefing produced by the police and the Council explaining the powers used for the Bemerton-Thornhill dispersal zone is available here.

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