Police in Swansea have been granted extra powers to deal with anti-social behaviour from children as young as 10 years old in the city centre over the Halloween period. A Section 35 dispersal order has been put in place covering a specific area, which will be reviewed every 48 hours up until Fireworks Night a week on Sunday (November 5).
A similar order was put in place back in August when a number of youths were arrested, told to leave the area, or given postal notices of crimes committed over a period of three days. You can get the latest WalesOnline newsletters e-mailed to you directly for free by signing up here.
Following that dispersal order, one local shop worker said of Swansea city centre: “This place is horrible. It is not a nice place to be anymore. From about 4pm onwards you’ll see groups of about 30 or more kids running around and it’s quite intimidating for older people, who tell me they don’t like coming into town anymore for that reason.” Another shop worker said: “You’ve got kids walking around, around 12 or 13, some younger, they are all with their vapes and are very rude. The language some kids use is ridiculous, and it makes you think, ‘where are the parents?’ Years ago when you were younger you would get a telling off.” You can read more about the issues faced by Swansea traders brought about by anti-social behaviour here.
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The new Section 35 order, granted under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, provides police officers with discretionary powers to disperse individuals or groups causing, or likely to cause, harassment, alarm, or distress to others. It applies to any youths aged 10 or over and has been put in place in a bid to tackle behavioural issues over the upcoming half-term school break.
Neighbourhood Police Inspector Mark Watkins, of South Wales Police, said: “Following a series of public order incidents in Swansea City Centre over the summer holiday period involving unruly youths, aggressive behaviour, and disturbances to shoppers and businesses, we have put this dispersal order in place to cover the Halloween half term break. A Section 35 dispersal order was put in place in the city centre back on 16th August and over the course of the next three days six teenagers were arrested, three youths were directed to leave the area, and four other individuals received postal requisitions for criminal offences committed.
“An additional 24 individuals received home visits from police and partners to be issued with ASB warnings. Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of the public. We use Section 35 when necessary to prevent escalating situations and ensure a safe environment for everyone. The Section 35 is in place as a preventative measure, however, failure to comply with the order can result in arrest. We will have an increased police presence in the outlined area and officers won’t hesitate to enforce the extra powers afforded to them.”
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