A six-month crime blitz on yobs in the centre of Chesterfield is already having a positive effect, according to a report.
The findings by the Chesterfield Community Safety Partnership show there have been fewer police calls to the area since a dispersal order covering a huge swathe of the town centre was introduced three weeks ago.
The order was put in place by Derbyshire police a month after the Derbyshire Times reported that parts of Chesterfield town centre were becoming a ‘no-go zone’ because of people under the influence of ‘legal highs’.
It was agreed by Chesterfield Borough Council and other organisations and was introduced under Section 30 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.
It gives the police powers to move on nuisance louts who are making the lives of business owners and residents a misery.
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins, who has campaigned in Parliament for changes to the laws surrounding ‘legal highs’, said that he is pleased the dispersal order is making a difference.
He added: “Things have got better, which is good, however it is not a permanent solution.
“The dispersal order is a good tool and I think it is imortant that the police have all the tools available to them so they can take action.
“The order is a positive step locally, but I think there is still work to be done in Parliament, dealing with ‘legal highs’, as the taking of which I believe should be a criminal offence in it’s own right.
“This is why I will continue to take this issue to Parliament.”
Councillor Sharon Blank, chairman of the Chesterfield Community Safety Partnership, said that the dispersal order is a positive step in tackling the ‘no-go zone’ problem but claimed all it does is move people on.
She added: “It is a good idea.
“It’s the only way the police can move people on from an area.
“The only problem is all you are doing is moving the problem elsewhere.”