Barnstaple police granted power to disperse people over Christmas period
Police have been granted the power to disperse groups of disorderly people over the Christmas period.
The Section 30 order has been granted by North Devon Council and will run from November 30 until January 6.
It gives police the power to disperse groups of two or more people acting disorderly in Barnstaple town centre.
Barnstaple police requested that the order be brought in to deal with problems arising from late night revellers over the Christmas party period including Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year's Eve.
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The order can be used any time of day or night. A similar one has also been put in place in Ilfracombe.
Sgt Paul Jones, Neighbourhood Team Leader for Barnstaple, said: "We currently have an 18% reduction in violent crime in the town centre compared to the same period last year and this power simply adds to the range of measures we already have in place including the 'Demon Drink' campaign. I am committed to having the right number of officers in the right place at the right time to deal with any disorder that may arise.
"This Section 30 dispersal order is about good old fashioned common sense policing. It's about the police being proactive in preventing incidents and reducing crime and disorder. We're building on current successes, reassuring the public and giving them confidence that they can all enjoy Barnstaple town centre on any day or night, and at any time, and feel safe.
"Police officers and PCSOs from my team and members of the Special Constabulary will be policing all the main late night events over the Christmas and New Year period. This includes Factory Friday, and both Christmas & New Year's Eve. This Section 30 is one of a number of measures that will help ensure that, as ever, Barnstaple is a peaceful place to enjoy the festive period. For the last few of years there has been very much a family atmosphere on New Year's Eve and this is what I want to continue."
Kate Morne from Safer North Devon said: "The police and council have worked extremely hard to continue to drive down violent crime in Barnstaple by working closely with licensees, door staff and other agencies and groups and I am pleased that this power will enhance the excellent work already done."