Stabbings, gun violence and drug dealing on Sheffield’s busy London Road could be tackled with new powers aimed at ending gang activity.
Police and council bosses are preparing a crackdown using new legislation after a mass brawl at a London Road venue involving around 100 people – including yobs armed with a knife and a gun – fighting and throwing glasses.
Police say some pubs and clubs in the area ‘are known as places where gangs gather’.
The Public Space Protection Order – which could make it an offence to gather in groups on the street or wear face coverings – would be the first of its kind in Sheffield.
A similar order was considered for Nether Edge last year to help police tackle a gang called the Top Corner Boys but the plan was dropped after community leaders and police said the situation had improved.
It comes as police revealed several stabbings have taken place on London Road in recent months.
In a report as part of a licence review into the Yankee Lounge club on London Road, acting police sergeant Samantha Cooper said: “This area is heavily populated, with a very diverse community and, in terms of local policing intelligence and knowledge, it is known to be associated with gang-related violence, drug dealing, anti-social behaviour and recent high levels of crime and disorder.
“These include several recent reported stabbings and firearms incidents in the area.
“A dedicated team of officers are working in this area, attempting to resolve these issues.”
She added some pubs and clubs in the area ‘are known as places where gangs gather and a place where drug dealing and other criminality generally takes place’.
Sgt Cooper said: “The police and local authority are now applying for a ‘Public Space Protection Order’ in the area as a further means of addressing the issues highlighted.”
She said a consultation on the introduction of the new legislation to stop gang activity in the area has ‘received considerable support from the community, in their desire to assist and reduce crime and disorder in the area’.
As part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, the protection orders can be introduced to outlaw certain activities in an area for up to three years.
Last year, the idea of bringing in such an order was considered for streets in Nether Edge and on part of Abbeydale Road in a bid to tackle an increasing number of crimes by a teenage gang known as the ‘Top Corner Boys’.
Under the plans, it would have been a criminal offence to congregate in groups of two or more people ‘in a manner likely to contribute to members of the public being harassed, alarmed or distressed’.
It would have also been an offence for someone to cover their face to conceal their identity within the order zone.
But the proposal did not come to fruition. Earlier this year police said there had been a decrease in anti-social behaviour in Nether Edge.
The Star understands the police and the council are yet to formally apply for a Public Space Protection Order on London Road, but have been considering the option.
If given the go-ahead, it would be the first area in Sheffield to be subject to such powers.
However, such an order has already been brought into use in Barnsley town centre following a public consultation.
The measure came into force in March to help tackle anti-social behaviour including issues such as street drinking and drug-taking.