Conservatives welcome renewal of Dispersal Zone for Eltham High Street

Eltham Conservatives today welcomed the announcement that the Dispersal Zone for Eltham High Street has been renewed within the six month deadline.  This is a much improved situation from Autumn 2012 where the Labour Council’s incompetence left the High Street without a zone for two weeks until Conservative Councillor’s protests spurred them into action. 

 

The Dispersal Zone is widely recognised as being effective, with statistics showing that since the zone was introduced a year ago:-

 

·        Violence Against The Person offences has now seen a 52.4% reduction since the implementation of the Dispersal Zone a year ago.

·        Anti-Social Behaviour was lower than the same month in the previous year for every month since the Dispersal Zone had been in place, (except for February 2012, where the extra reports arose from a few days when the weather resulted in throwing of snowballs, so was not representative of the general trend).

·        In the Feb/Mar/April 2013 Anti-Social Behaviour related calls were also at their lowest levels for a year.

 

More positively, the Police have not been heavy handed in their use of this power, only requiring 32 individuals in 9 different groups to leave the High Street when they have been witnessed causing anti-social behaviour.  

 

The punctual decision being taken to reintroduce the Dispersal Zone is completely at odds with the Labour Council’s failure to renew the Order prior to 31st October 2012.  It was only when Eltham Councillor Spencer Drury started asking questions about the expiry of the order in November that the Woolwich-based Council was pressured into action and eventually the Order was reintroduced on the 19th November, leaving the police without the improved powers for more than two weeks.

 

Spencer said “I am really pleased that the Council has reacted positively to its failure last autumn and renewed the Dispersal Zone in time this year.  Together with news that Eltham High Street will be allocated 9 police officers rather than the current 4 under the new local policing model, I think that this is good news for our High Street and residents.”

 

 

 

 

 

Extra information which may be of interest:

 

1.      A copy of the Decision to renew the Dispersal Zone can be found at http://committees.greenwich.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?id=2142.

2.      A report on the situation last autumn can be found at http://www.greenwichconservatives.com/news/1367.

3.      The Council report includes a range of examples of the reasons for dispersal in Eltham Town Centre including:

a.       Youths using McDonalds as a youth club, acting aggressively and refusing to leave.

b.      Individuals being rude and abusive to shop staff.

c.       A rowdy group of 20-30 youths being rowdy at the Eltham Lights Up event.

d.      Fighting between school students.

e.       Youths identified as being about to shoplift.

f.        Overhearing a group planning a fight.

g.       Youths being rude and abusive to elderly members of the public.

h.       Suspicious behaviour.