Dyfed Powys Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) have been given the power to ban anyone committing, or likely to commit, anti-social behaviour or crime from a designated area for up to 48 hours.
Chief Constable Simon Prince has authorised PCSOs with dispersal powers following the introduction of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, which came into force last week.
PCSOs are able to issue a Section 35 Dispersal Order in the same way as uniformed police officers to stop behaviour that is causing, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to members of that community.
Chief Constable Simon Prince said: “PSCOs are working out in the heart of our communities every day and have established strong links with community members. It makes sense to provide them with the new dispersal powers to keep their communities safe. PCSOs have undergone training on how to use the dispersal powers and are ready to start applying the orders where appropriate in the same way as uniformed police officers.
“The new dispersal power is a more flexible tool available to the police to deal with individuals engaging in anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder not only when they have occurred or are occurring, but when they are likely to occur and in any locality. This extends the capability of the police to prevent incidents of anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder before they take place.”
The Section 35 Dispersal Order has replaced the Section 27 Dispersal Order. It provides police with a far more flexible power that can be used in a wider range of situations to disperse anti-social individuals and provide immediate short-term respite to a community.
Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon said: “These new powers enable PCSO’s to nip problems in the bud. They’re great news for good behaviour and bad news for louts.”
Dispersal powers are no longer restricted to alcohol-related issues, can be used in any locality including residential areas or shopping centres and can be used on anyone who appears to be over the age of 10.
It also allows PCSOs and police officers to confiscate items they believe could be used to commit anti-social behaviour, such as alcohol, spray paint or eggs.
Breaching the dispersal order is an offence and could lead to a criminal prosecution.
Where there are continuing problems of anti-social behaviour in a community, police will work with the council and other appropriate partners to find long-term solutions.
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