Anti-social behaviour powers are being put in place by Lambeth Council and Lambeth police to tackle problems around Vauxhall’s busy nightclub scene, including groups gathering through the night and using the legal high nitrous oxide.
The Dispersal Zone is being put used to boost police powers to break up the groups of partiers who have been causing a disturbance and in some cases committing crime in the area.
Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, said: “We are acting to tackle this persistent problem at the request of local residents and businesses. We are seeing groups of people leaving nightclubs and then congregating in the area, around spots that include the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
“Many appear to be taking the legal high nitrous oxide, and then have their own little parties around cars with the stereos turned up to play loud music. We are working closely with Lambeth police on discouraging this anti-social behaviour. We want Vauxhall to be a safe place for residents and visitors.”
It is hoped the dispersal zone will also help reduce all crime in Vauxhall, including incidents of robbery and theft.
Inspector Neil Cochlin, from Lambeth North Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This new power will be a very useful addition to our legal tools in tackling local crime and anti-social behaviour. It is worth noting that during the consultation process there was overwhelming support from residents and businesses for a dispersal zone.
“Officers will also have the discretionary power to return young people home who are under 16 years of age and are on the streets not under the control of an adult after 9pm.
“We will be monitoring the use of the dispersal zone over the next six months to ensure it remains effective. Vauxhall is a great place to live, work and travel through. It is the intention the police and all our partners that this remains the case.”
When in place officers can move on groups of two or more people whose presence has, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to disperse. People from outside the affected area will be banned from returning for up to 24 hours.
Refusing to follow police directions to disperse can result in a fine of up to £2,500 or up to three months in prison.
People being affected anti-social behaviour in Vauxhall and those with information can contact Lambeth Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Reporting line on 020 7926 4000 or report issues to the police.
The council and police have also been working closely with the Safer Lambeth Business Partnership, and Vauxhall One, to help reduce crime and aid detection. Businesses in Vauxhall who want to join the initiative should visit http://www.saferlambeth.co.uk.
The Dispersal Zone is authorised under Section 30 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. It will be applied to Vauxhall from September 5, 2014 until March 5, 2015.