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Anti-social behaviour crackdown slashes crime in six months

A crackdown on anti-social behaviour has seen crime in a hotspot area slashed by 17 per cent since Lambeth Council and Police introduced a six month dispersal zone which covered Paulet Road and the Thorlands and Lilford Estates in Lambeth.

A new dispersal zone was introduced in the area on Monday, 19 April and will run for six months until Tuesday, 11 October, after figures indicate crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) has been hit head-on.

The previous dispersal zone was first enforced from July to January following residents’ complaints of intimidation and harassment by a 30-strong group of 19-30 year olds who regularly congregate around Paulet Road, Knatchbull Road, and Denmark Road. At a Safer Neighbourhood Team Panel meeting held in April last year, one resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “When are they going to stop terrorising local residents? I hope the council will give its full support to police to take action to move these people out of our street and stop them ruining our lives.”

Since that meeting more than 50 anti-social offenders have been dispersed in and around the area of Denmark Road. This figure includes 18 repeat offenders, and a hard core of 13 offenders responsible for intimidating residents at the shops on the Paulet Road Estate – of which four have an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) pending against them which the council’s Community Safety Team applied for through the magistrates’ court. This could see members of the group permanently banned from the area – with the council currently lining up two further ASBOs against other members of the group.

The figure for overall crime has also significantly dropped by 17 per cent in the past six months – 47 less offences. A total of 232 offences were committed throughout the period of the dispersal zone, compared with 279 offences in the six month period prior its enforcement.

Ann Corbett, Lambeth Council’s Assistant Director for Community Safety, said: “We were asked by local residents to take action against a select few who chose to intimidate and harass people in the area and that is exactly what we’ve done. We will do whatever it takes to ensure the problem of anti-social behaviour is addressed head-on. People should be able to walk down the street and use their local shops without being intimidated or harassed, and these figures show the dispersal zone is doing exactly what it is designed to do which is why we have decided to extend it for a further six months.”

Acting Chief Inspector of Neighbourhood Policing in Lambeth, Stuart Bell added: “Dispersal Zones are an effective tactic in reducing violence and anti-social behaviour that a minority of people engage in. Nevertheless this understandably causes anxiety and concern to our community. Implementing and developing the Dispersal Zone has a required team effort between Lambeth Borough Police, the Local Authority, and residents. This evidences the fact that every option will be taken to reduce the risks that the minority who engage in ASB and violence present to our community.”

A dispersal zone gives police greater powers to tell individuals to leave an area where their presence is causing local residents and the business community to feel threatened and intimidated. Those asked to disperse from the area will have their names and addresses taken by officers, with repeat offenders being put forward for further enforcement including an anti-social behaviour order. Dispersal zones are used by the Safer Lambeth Partnership, which includes Lambeth Council, Lambeth Police, probation service, primary care trust, HM Prison Service, fire service, Community Police Consultative Group, Crown Prosecution Service and a range of voluntary and community organisations.

The Vassall, Herne Hill, and Coldharbour dispersal zone will cover Carew Street, Eastlake Road, Flaxman Road, Gordon Grove, Kenbury Street, Lilford Road, Redan Terrace, Cormont Road, Calais Street, Halsmere Road, Paulet Road, Knatchbull Road, Inglis Street, Welby Street, Templar Street, Upstall Street, Penford Street, Burton Road, Brief Street, Claribel Road, Minet Road, Rupert Gardens, Wickwood Street, Styles Gardens, Rathgar Road, Luxor Street, Spicer Close, Elam Street and all of Lilford and Thorlands Estate, Loughborough Road, Akerman Road, Lothian Road, Camberwell New Road, Flooden Road and Denmark Road.

To report incidents of anti-social behaviour contact Lambeth Council’s anti-social behaviour reporting line on 020 7926 4000.

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