Ban on groups gathering in town centre

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GROUPS of people will no longer be allowed to congregate in Chesterfield town centre in a bid to crackdown on drunken and loutish behaviour and drug abuse.

From Friday, police will have the power to stop people from gathering in the town centre in groups of two or more, between 9pm and 6am.

A Dispersal Order has been approved, which gives police the right to ban people from an area for up to 24 hours.

Those who refuse can be arrested and face fines of up to £2,500.

It will cover areas from where complaints have been made by members of the public, including the bus stands in Beetwell Street, the Market Place, Shentall Gardens and the parade of shops along West Bars.

The order will remain in force until February 28 next year.

Notices, including a map of the area covered by the order, have been posted in the town.

Sergeant Les Rawson, of the Chesterfield community safety partnership, said: “The intention is not to make the town centre a no-go area for anyone who is going about their lives in an orderly manner.

“A meeting involving the police, Chesterfield Council, CCTV, Connexions, Derbyshire Alcohol Advice Service, Drug Services and Probation was held to discuss anti-social behaviour in the area.

“It will, together with other actions we are taking in the area, help put a stop to groups causing disruption and making people feel unsafe,” he said.