Anti-social behaviour crackdown welcomed in Eastbourne

Police Sergeant Gareth Evans and PC Scott Franklyn-Lester
Police Sergeant Gareth Evans and PC Scott Franklyn-Lester

TRADERS have welcomed a new crackdown which police say is cutting anti-social behaviour in the town centre and on the seafront.

On June 1, officers were given the power to disperse groups causing trouble, or with the potential to cause anti-social behaviour, from a designated zone.

Anyone refusing to leave the area when asked can be arrested, hauled before the courts and slapped with a hefty fine.

The scheme may only be three weeks into its three-month run but police believe it is already breaking up the town’s groups of street drinkers and moving them on from their regular haunts.

The zone includes the seafront and beaches from the Wish Tower to Princes Park and the town centre, bounded by Devonshire Place, Cavendish Place and Enys Road, including Gildredge Park.

Sergeant Gareth Evans, of the Eastbourne Neighbourhood Police Team, said since June 1, 74 dispersal orders had been issued with just three arrests for refusing to comply. Two of those people were charged with breaching the order.

He told the Herald, “If there are two or more people causing trouble we can disperse them for up to 24 hours but it’s got to be proportionate.

“If they’ve got to come back to town for an appointment, we would tell them to go to it but not come back afterwards, or if they live within the zone we obviously wouldn’t disperse them from that part.

“Officers make a note of any groups they’ve dispersed and it goes on a log so that other officers know which people have been dispersed, from what area and for how long, so if they come across the same people they can check if they’ve been causing anti-social behaviour, or likely to.”