Six men were banned for two days, and one man arrested and charged for breaching that ban, following reports of anti-social behaviour around the bus stops in New Beetwell Street, Chesterfield.
It followed calls about a large group of people had gathered near to the escalator and entrance to The Pavements shopping centre at around 11.30am on Monday, February 27.
Six men, aged between 28 and 52-years-old, were banned from the area for 48 hours using police dispersal powers to target anti-social behaviour. One of those men returned the next day (Tuesday, February 28), and was arrested.
Adam Devine, 30, of no fixed address, was later charged with breaching the dispersal order and is due to appear before magistrate’s at Chesterfield Justice Centre on Thursday, March 16.
The area around the bus stops on New Beetwell Street is being targeted by officers on the Chesterfield Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team as a priority due to ongoing concerns of anti-social behaviour and disorder.
Inspector John Turner, who is in charge of the Chesterfield Local Policing Unit, said: “We are aware of the increase of people congregating and making a nuisance of themselves around the bus station on Beetwell Street during the day.
“To many, their presence at the bus stops is unwanted and perhaps unpalatable. We will continue to target perpetrators of anti-social behaviour who blight this small specific area using legislation available to us in a proportionate manner. “However, I would like to emphasise we will not target homeless or rough sleepers per se who in the main are a social issue if they are not committing any offences.
“We work hard with our partners in the Community Safety Partnership, Chesterfield Borough Council and charities to support and assist homeless people into accommodation. That said, we will take appropriate enforcement action if any homeless or rough sleepers take part in this type of behaviour as we would with anyone. I will not allow drunkenness, vomiting, and general disorder to become the norm in that area for members of the public who wish to simply catch a bus home.
“It is only when an offence is committed by someone, so for example if they drink alcohol within the area set out by the Designated Public Places Order area, or if they behave in an anti-social manner, that we can take action.
“To enhance the limited powers normally available to officers I have and will continue to authorise ‘Dispersal Orders’ under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2014. These powers ban someone from the area for a maximum of 48 hours and each one has to be justified on current or anticipated anti-social behaviour. Equally their duration has to be a measured and proportionate response to the problem.”
“On Monday, February 27, six people were dispersed from the B5/B6 bus stop area on Beetwell Street and banned from returning to the town centre for a 48 hour period. One did not heed that instruction and was arrested and charged when he returned the next day.
“The issue has been an on and off problem for several years and previous substantial efforts to modify the infrastructure of the outside of the building unfortunately made little progress.
“Much investment has enabled extra CCTV coverage but the problem continues despite many convictions resulting from the advantage of the CCTV.
“Next week we have organised a meeting with several of our partners, both public and private, who have an interest in resolving this issue with a view to changing, where possible, the infrastructure of that specific area to prevent and inhibit such behaviour.
“In the meantime the location continues to be the highest priority patrol area for the Chesterfield Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Team.”
To report anti-social behaviour, or if you would like to contact the Chesterfield Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team, call 101. In an emergency you should always dial 999.
You can also follow the Chesterfield Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team on Twitter @ChesterfieldSNT.