Police get power to crack down on yobs in Pilgrims Hatch this Christmas

Police gain more power to crackdown on trouble makers in Pilgrims Hatch this Christmas as a dispersal zone is introduced in the area today (Friday).

The order, signed this week by Supt Adrian Coombs of Essex Police and the head of Brentwood Council’s legal team Steve Boyle, will run until February 5.

Under the order, Essex Police have the power to issue groups of two or more people with a warning to leave the area for 24 hours. If they return within that time, they can be arrested.

The order also gives police the power to take children under the age of 16 home if they are out after 9pm.

The dispersal zone has been introduced following a 50 per cent increase in reports of anti-social behaviour this year.

Vandalism, including of the Bishops Hall Park community centre, Elizabeth Road, has been a problem.

Insp Jon Burgess, said: “The dispersal order provides Essex Police with an additional tool to deal effectively with any concerns, addressing any incidents of anti-social behaviour, and nipping trouble in the bud before it has a chance to escalate. This order will not affect the law abiding residents of Pilgrims Hatch.

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“This order will only affect those who are causing misery and disorder for others and my officers will deal positively with any offenders.

“We want to ensure that everyone, whether they live locally or are visiting can have an enjoyable and peaceful experience this Christmas time.”

Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr David Kendall, who represents Pilgrims Hatch ward, and tried to get the council to implement a dispersal zone in October, said: “I’m delighted that it’s going to be put in place, and hopefully it will help to improve residents’ quality of life.”

Cllr Louise McKinlay, the leader of Brentwood Council, said: “This order is just another strand to assist us, so we can bring that peace back to the community of Pilgrims Hatch.”