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Dispersal powers

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Under the Antisocial Behaviour Crime & Policing Act 2014, uniformed Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSO's) (if designated by the Chief Constable) can instruct an individual who has committed, or is likely to commit, antisocial behaviour, crime or disorder to leave a particular area for up to 48 hours.  However, the use of the Dispersal Power must be authorised by an officer of Inspector rank or above.

Officers must have reasonable grounds to suspect that the individual's behaviour is contributing, or is likely to contribute to, members of the public being harassed, alarmed or distressed, and the removal of that individual will remove or reduce the likelihood of further antisocial behaviour, crime or disorder.

An area does not have to be designated as a dispersal zone in advance, so the dispersal power can be used to provide immediate respite for a community from anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder.

The use of dispersal powers is only a short-term solution for the community;  in areas which experience regular anti-ocial behaviour, the Police may work with other agencies to agree a long-term solution.

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