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Powers to kick troublemakers out of Cheltenham town centre agreed

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

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EMPOWERING police to kick troublemakers out of a town centre is not a witch hunt against young people.

That's the message from Gloucestershire police after councillors agreed to put in place a dispersal order for the lower High Street area of Cheltenham.

It is hoped the powers will clamp down on anti-social behaviour in the area which has seen a massive increase in offending in the last 12 months.

The order gives police officers and PCSOs the right to tell people who are behaving in a manner likely to intimidate or alarm others to leave the town centre and not return for 24 hours.

Failure to comply would be a criminal offence.

Acting Inspector Tim Hutchinson said problems at the four 'trouble hotspots' of St Mary's Churchyard, outside McDonalds, Jenner Gardens and outside Hutchinson's included people performing lewd acts, urinating in public, drinking and general intimidation.

"The businesses are in support of this application because of the fact that customers are being intimidated," he said at a meeting of Cheltenham Borough Council's cabinet on Tuesday evening at the Municipal Offices.

"This is not the be all and end all but it is another tool in the box that will be available to us. We don't see this as turning the lower High Street into a police state by any means. Flooding the area with police is not an issue."

The powers will also enable police to escort young people under the age of 16 who are causing problems home to discuss their actions with their parents.

But Inspector Hutchinson said the dispersal order could be used on anyone - not just young people.

He added: "This isn't about hitting young people with a stick and telling them to go away. We will be working with our partners so that the underlying causes of anti-social behaviour are dealt with across the board and this is not only about youths."

Councillor John Rawson (St Peters, LD), cabinet member for finance, said: "Clearly there are trouble spots and there are issues that need to be addressed."

Councillors unanimously agreed to the six-month dispersal order from November 30 to May 24.

OPINION, P8

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  • RonSlater  |  November 16 2012, 1:35PM

    Oh dear, I think GlosAnarchy's classic tilt at classic British comedy has sailed far over the heads of quite a few readers. I was amuse, even if most others weren't!

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  • cheltenham20  |  November 16 2012, 10:52AM

    GlosAnarchy Are you for real...

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  • Ms_Superstar  |  November 15 2012, 11:30PM

    Hmm, not sure this is a job for the police. Not sure they'd do it properly even if it was. As a nation, we all need to recalibrate our parameters of acceptable conduct. You don't need to wear a hoodie to behave antisocially. Dropping litter will do it. As will smoking in a bus shelter. Or speeding. Or drink-driving. Or obstructing the pavement. Or parking your 4x4 on yellow lines outside a school. Or driving it the wrong way along a one-way street. Or teaching your kids to ride their bicycles on the footpath (someone was knocked down by a 'cyclist' just this week). Or picking on homeless people. Or shouting abuse at pedestrians and spraying them with a water pistol from a moving car. Or selling strong alcohol below cost as a loss leader. Or destroying someone's character on social media/in the press. Or fiddling expenses/wholesale gas prices/the LIBOR rate. If everyone did just one thing for their fellow human (sweep that bit of pavement, pick up that empty Lambrini bottle) what a much nicer place we could all live in. Look out for your neighbour and they'll look out for you - look after number one and you'll always be watching your back.

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  • username123  |  November 15 2012, 4:31PM

    Not sure about the first 2 comments but I have to applaud the way Cheltenham Town Centre Police go about their business. They clearly look at a problem, review, then put in place plans to revolve the problem. No drama's, no histrionics and no headline grabbing. Just what we want from our local bobbies. Thank you for doing your job professionally and in conjunction with your community, Lets hope the PCCM looks at the right way to do things. Well done Inspector Hutchinson and his team.

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  • Lecorche  |  November 15 2012, 1:41PM

    Pessant,Glosetc.? You Peasant.... :-)

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  November 15 2012, 1:11PM

    Peasants: We have found a witch! (A witch! a witch!) Burn her burn her! Peasant 1: We have found a witch, may we burn her? (cheers) Vladimir: How do you known she is a witch? PESSANT 2: She looks like one! SIR VLADIMIR:Bring her forward Woman: I'm not a witch! I'm not a witch! SIR VLADIMIR:ehh... but you are dressed like one. WITCH: They dressed me up like this! All: naah no we didn't... no. WITCH: And this isn't my nose, it's a false one. (V lifts up carrot) SIR VLADIMIR:Well? PESSANT 1: Well we did do the nose SIR VLADIMIR:The nose? PESSANT 1: ...And the hat, but she is a witch! (all: yeah, burn her burn her!) SIR VLADIMIR:Did you dress her up like this? PESSANT 1: No! (no no... no) Yes. (yes yeah) a bit (a bit bit a bit) But she has got a wart! (PESSANT 3 points at wart) SIR VLADIMIR:What makes you think she is a witch? PESSANT 2: Well, she turned me into a newt! SIR VLADIMIR:A newt?! (PESSANT 2 pause & look around) PESSANT 2: I got better. (pause) PESSANT 3: Burn her anyway! (burn her burn her burn!) (king walks in) SIR VLADIMIR:There are ways of telling whether she is a witch. PESSANT 1: Are there? Well then tell us! (tell us) SIR VLADIMIR:Tell me... what do you do with witches? PESSANT 3: Burn'em! Burn them up! (burn burn burn) SIR VLADIMIR:What do you burn apart from witches? PESSANT 1: More witches! (PESSANT 2 nudge PESSANT 1) (pause) PESSANT 3: Wood! SIR VLADIMIR:So, why do witches burn? (long pause) PESSANT 2: Cuz they're made of... wood? SIR VLADIMIR:Gooood. (crowd congratulates PESSANT 2) SIR VLADIMIR:So, how do we tell if she is made of wood? PESSANT 1: Build a bridge out of her! SIR VLADIMIR:Ahh, but can you not also make bridges out of stone? PESSANT 1: Oh yeah... SIR VLADIMIR:Does wood sink in water? PESSANT 1: No PESSANT 3: No. It floats! PESSANT 1: Let's throw her into the bog! (yeah yeah ya!) SIR VLADIMIR:What also floats in water? PESSANT 1: Bread PESSANT 3: Apples PESSANT 2: Very small rocks (V looks annoyed) PESSANT 1: Cider PESSANT 3: Grape gravy PESSANT 1: Cherries PESSANT 3: Mud King is Arthur, King of the Britains: A Duck! (all look and stare at king) SIR VLADIMIR:Exactly! So, logically... PESSANT 1(thinking): If she ways the same as a duck... she's made of wood! SIR VLADIMIR:And therefore, (pause & think) PESSANT 3: A witch! (PESSANT 1: a witch)(PESSANT 2: a witch)(all: a witch!) SIR VLADIMIR:We shall use my largest scales. SIR VLADIMIR:Right, remove the stops! (wait while scales remains still) All: A witch! burn her burn her!!

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