CONCERNS over drunks roaming the streets of Worthing has prompted increased police action.
Yesterday (June 25), the police force issued a dispersal order on Worthing town centre in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour caused by some members of the street drinking community.
““I would like to make it very clear that this is not about unfairly targeting the homeless, as many of those who hang around drinking and causing harassment to local people, are not part of that group.”Inspector Allan Lowe, Sussex Police
It came after a community meeting the day before between town centre businesses, publicans, charity figures and members of Adur & Worthing councils who were all looking into the issue.
The dispersal power lasts for 48 hours, the maximum time allowed in law under one authorisation. It enables police officers to require a person who has committed or is likely to commit anti-social behaviour, to leave specified areas of the town centre and not to return for a period of up to 48 hours.
Inspector Allan Lowe of the Adur and Worthing Neighbourhood Policing Team said; “I have given this authority to police officers to tackle visible and totally unacceptable anti-social behaviour, by sections of the street community. Many local people, including those who work in local shops, will know who these problematic people are.
“I would like to make it very clear that this is not about unfairly targeting the homeless, as many of those who hang around drinking and causing harassment to local people, are not part of that group.
“The vulnerable and homeless will continue to be provided with our full support, help and compassion. However, our primary role is to protect local people so that they can enjoy the great place Worthing is, and to do that, we have no hesitation in lawfully taking on those who have no respect for others.”
If the person breaches those requirements, then an offence is committed. Authority, for patrolling officers to use the power, has to be given by an officer of Inspector rank or above.
Patrols have been increased in Worthing town centre to help with enforcement. Police officers from a variety of teams are involved. Four arrests were made last night Thursday (June 25), not for breach of the dispersal order, but for offences such as being drunk and disorderly in a public place.
Adur and Worthing Police Community Support Officers are also patrolling key areas and confronting poor behaviour, supported by their police officer colleagues.
Insp Lowe added: “My team will continue to work closely with staff from local agencies including the Adur & Worthing council’s safer communities team and the Worthing Churches Homeless Project, to look at all issues surrounding that community, under the banner of Operation Reform.
“This takes an approach which provides support for vulnerable members of the street community, combined with enforcement against the small minority who commit anti-social behaviour. Further Section 35 authorities will be given if necessary.”