Police employ powers to dispel drinkers from Sidmouth

Sergeant Andy Squires with the dispersal zone map. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 6365-33-13SH To orde

Sergeant Andy Squires with the dispersal zone map. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 6365-33-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmoutherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders. - Credit: Archant

Alcohol-fuelled troublemakers can be thrown out of Sidmouth town centre by new powers that have been introduced by the police.

The first reveller has already been ejected from the ‘dispersal zone’ - that also covers the Byes and the beach – and he was arrested when he broke the conditions.

Sergeant Andy Squires is employing the Section 27 order to combat drunken antisocial behaviour in anyone as young as 10.

“It’s the same three or four ringleaders causing trouble every week – it’s them we are looking to disperse before they cause problems,” said Sgt Squires.

He said officers would be patrolling at around 8pm as people headed out so they could deter alcohol-related problems, which were mainly among those too young to get in Carinas.

Boozed-up nuisances were set to receive dispersal orders that would specify the area that they have to leave, when they can return, and even the route they take home.

Anyone in breach of an order could be arrested, he said.

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Sgt Squires said if they found the problems were not alcohol-related, the police could introduce wider-reaching dispersal powers.

Some of Sidmouth’s response officers cover the whole of East Devon, so can be called to the ‘hot spots’ of Exmouth and Tiverton, but the new sergeant said he would fight the town’s corner to keep them nearby.

Town councillors welcomed the initiative when they met on Monday, but expressed concern that the problem would be displaced elsewhere.

“We have to draw the line somewhere,” said Sgt Squires. “We have other powers to deal with them if they cause problems.”

The dispersal zone includes the seafront from Connaught Gardens to the Ham, and runs northward along the Byes and Station Road as far as Peaslands Road.

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