Police set up ‘dispersal zone’ in nearby town centre

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Anti-social behaviour in Stirling town centre is to be tackled by a “dispersal zone” that allows police to evict groups of undesirables for 24 hours.

Under the Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004, police can instruct any people in groups of two or more who are “congregating and behaving in an anti-social manner” to leave the zone.

If they return within 24 hours they will be arrested.

Superintendent Mark Lundie said: “We are confident that this dispersal zone will enable us to robustly tackle anti-social behaviour, general disorder and drug misuse which blight the centre of Stirling.

“We have seen an increase in people gathering and causing a nuisance to those who wish to use the city centre for work and leisure, and residents.

“This behaviour is largely displayed under the influence of drugs and alcohol and we have seen people shouting and swearing, urinating in public, and consuming illicit substances”.

He added: “The Dispersal Zone allows us to move on people who are causing a nuisance. I hope that it will make these streets safer and help people to feel safer there.

“Anyone who is banned will receive a copy of the map so that it is clear where they should not be and they will be arrested and put before the courts if they are found to have returned to continue the same behaviour.”

Councillor Maureen Bennison, convenor of Stirling Council’s Public Safety Committee said: “Anti-social behaviour is a blight. It disrupts communities and can have a detrimental impact on business.

“We know that these powers are not the sole solution, and work needs to be done to tackle this problem at its source, but it is a step in the right direction.”