RESIDENTS and community leaders have welcomed new police powers to crack down on persistent nuisance behaviour at a Mansfield leisure park.
Officers asked Mansfield District Council for permission to create a dispersal zone covering Nottingham Road’s Mansfield Leisure Park and car parks at Sainsbury’s, KFC, Currys, Halfords and Fitness First.
The order, which came into effect last week, gives police the power to move on groups if they are intimidating, harassing, alarming or distressing other people.
It comes following a spate of problems with boy racers, loud music, littering, abusive behaviour and drug dealing.
Under-16s are not allowed in the dispersal order zone, which will be in place until 26th August, between 9pm-6am unless with a parent or a responsible person aged 18 or over. And anyone who fails to comply risks arrest, up to six months in prison and/or a fine of up to £5,000.
Insp Neil Williams said: “Everyone has a right to live in their communities without fear or intimidation. For too long, youths in these areas have been a persistent problem for residents and this order will give local officers the power to move the culprits on.
“This will hopefully improve the quality of life for those who live and work in Mansfield and put an end to the distress and misery caused by these thoughtless culprits on a regular basis.”
Police evidence gathered to request the order revealed there were 13 incidents reported to the control room between May and October last year, and businesses reported the problems were getting worse.
Documents said that when troublemakers were moved on, they often just headed for one of the other nearby car parks rather than leaving the area.
Ward councillor Brian Lohan said he hoped the measures would attract people back into the area for leisure activities and shopping.
“The car parks there have had a problem with boy racers for some time,” he said. “Hopefully people will now be encouraged to use the places there because I do think they have been put off in the past.”
At the Sainsbury’s car park last week some shoppers said they were more concerned about the ongoing construction work at the site.
Claire Doyle (39), of Sutton, said: “I have never noticed anything during the day when I usually do my shopping.
“But it is a good idea at night to move youngsters on if they are causing trouble.”
Coun Mick Barton, portfolio holder for public protection at Mansfield District Council, said: “I fully support the dispersal order and want to ensure that the police can continue to be able to use their adequate powers to address anti-social behaviour and vehicle nuisance in the future. Mansfield District Council recognises that there have been issues in these areas and will continue to work with the police to tackle them.”