New order to move groups of troublemakers

Far reaching plans to crack down on anti social behaviour and street drinking in Eastbourne town centre are in the pipeline.

Eastbourne Police and Eastbourne Borough Council are considering using new powers to bring in a Dispersal Order for three months during the summer.

It will mean officers can move groups of two people or more out of specific areas and they will not be allowed to return within 24 hours.

People who breach the order will be arrested.

Under Section 30 of the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 the dispersal order will be in force in the town centre and surrounding areas as detailed in July, August and September.

To bring the order in to force, a Police Superintendant and the head of the local authority have to be satisfied that it is necessary and proportionate to do so in order to protect the public from what is described as substantial intimidation, alarm, harassment or distress.

Should a dispersal order be granted, officers can require groups of two or more people to move out of the detailed area and not return for a period of up to 24 hours.

A police spokesperson said, “The officer has to be satisfied this is necessary to prevent the public from being alarmed, harassed, distressed or intimidated should the persons have remained in that area. This power can be used to disperse troublesome street drinkers, troublesome groups of young persons or any other group of people intent on causing problems. Failure to comply with the officers request or to return within the period determined is a criminal offence, and officers can arrest the persons concerned if appropriate.”

Members of the community are now being invited to have their say as to whether they believe a dispersal order is appropriate or not. PCSO Zoe Ayres is collecting responses and people can email her at or send their views in writing to Eastbourne Police Station, Grove Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4UF.

If the order is given the go ahead it will be the second time it has been used in town.