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Newark and Sherwood district commander: Increase in anti-social behaviour reports

As we entered into tier three and then the first week of national lockdown at the same time as Halloween and bonfire night, we saw an increase in anti-social behaviour reports, writes Inspector Heather Sutton, Newark and Sherwood district commander.

There were additional officers on duty at the key times, who were able to quickly respond to incidents as they were called in.

In Newark town centre, the incidents continued beyond a few nights and, following a discussion with Newark and Sherwood District Council and Newark Town Council, I authorised a dispersal order.

Inspector Heather Sutton.
Inspector Heather Sutton.

This was for 12 hours on November 5, and a further 48 hours from Friday, November 6. A dispersal order gives officers the power to direct a person to leave the specified area for a period of time, and therefore prevents them for returning and causing further anti-social behaviour.

As well as high-visibility patrols, we had officers in plain clothes to deal with offenders before they could make off.

I am fully aware that a dispersal order does not solve the problem of anti-social behaviour and can sometimes cause those involved to simply move to another area. However, the dispersal order is effective when used in conjunction with other provisions.

Over the summer we put on youth engagement provisions and engaged in education sessions in schools.

On November 5, officers received reports of fireworks inappropriately being set off in the town centre.

Two young people suspected as being responsible were taken home to their parents, who were then informed of the issues and able to prevent their child from being involved in further anti-social behaviour, in any other areas.

Moving on to covid-19 matters, the police have adopted an engage, explain and encourage approach, with enforcement being a last resort.

We have continued with this approach, however, we have had cause to issues fines where there is a flagrant breach of the regulations.

Four males have been issued a fine for a gathering of two or more people, associated with reports of anti-social behaviour and fireworks at Vicar’s Water, and a female has been issued a fine for breaches, after receiving previous warnings.

These cases represent a very small example of people not complying with the legislation. In the main, residents of Newark and Sherwood are doing their part to keep each other safe.

We will continue to encourage compliance, but will not tolerate those who deliberately flout the regulations.

There will be an increased focus on speeding and reckless driving in the months leading up to Christmas, so here is your warning.

Better safe than never.

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