GANGS of troublemakers in Ilkeston town centre face jail or a fine of up to £2,500 under new powers granted to town cops this week.
The section 30 order, which has been welcomed by town traders, gives police the power to disperse groups of nuisance drinkers, who congregate in Market Place, and arrest them if they return within 24 hours.
Top cop at Ilkeston police station Insp Nick Daines exclusively told the Advertiser about the plans, which came into effect on Monday and will last for at least six months.
“It’s an additional tool that will help us to tackle anti-social behaviour,” he said.
“These are issues that have historically affected Ilkeston town centre and areas around the parks in warmer weather.
“The six months cover the summer and early autumn.”
Market trader Peter Whilde, who runs the Draycott Confectionery stall, welcomed the plans and said he thinks it would help to attract more shoppers, especially elderly people, back to the market.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said.
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“Most of the traders will feel much more secure now.”
He said it would also help to attract more shoppers, especially elderly people, back to the market.
The powers have also been extended to cover Victoria Park and Rutland Rec’ where groups of youths have been causing trouble at night.
Insp Daines added: “We certainly have no objection to young people using the park and the rec’ for their intended purpose, but when it goes beyond that to excessive noise, shouting, swearing and drinking, it’s gone too far.
“This will allow us to get those troublemakers to leave.”
He said those under 16 and unsupervised can be taken home after 9pm and served with a written notice warning them about their behaviour.
In June 2009, police were given powers to confiscate alcohol from groups causing a nuisance in public in Ilkeston.
Ilkeston town centre beat officer Pc Steve Harper, who will be enforcing the order, explained that the new powers will be used alongside an existing section 27 order, which allows police to disperse nuisance drinkers.
“There is very little power without alcohol consumption,” he said.
“Now that range of powers is much wider.”
He added: “This isn’t designed to target the vast majority of law-abiding people,” he said.
“This is designed to target groups of individuals who cause anti-social behaviour, harassment, alarm or distress.
“Section 30 will be used to target those groups of people and improve the quality of life for those who want to come in to Ilkeston town centre and use the facilities.
“Most towns of a similar size have very similar problems to us. We are not unique.”
He said that the plan can be extended for another six months ‘if there is reason to believe it is still required’.
A section 30 order was introduced in Long Eaton last year to deal with town centre trouble-makers there, and one was used to disperse gangs of yobs in Cotmanhay in 2006.