A controversial scheme intended to tackle anti-social behaviour in youngsters has been rolled out in Bangor.
Under the six-month dispersal order, youngsters under 16 must not be out alone in central Bangor between 9pm and 6am unless they’re with an adult.
The Gwynedd Community Safety Partnership, which includes police and the council, says it’s issued the order following complaints about anti-social behaviour and groups congregating to drink in the area.
It’s the first time a dispersal order has been used in Bangor.
Under the scheme:
- Youngsters under the age of 16 must not be in the vicinity between 9pm and 6am unless they are in the effective control of a parent or responsible adult aged 18 or over and may be removed to their home or place of safety if more appropriate.
- Police officers and PCSOs have the power to order groups of two or more who congregate in the vicinities outlined to leave the area.
- Police officers cab order groups who do not live in the area to leave and not return.
– Simon Barrasford, North Wales Police and Gwynedd County Council local Inspector
Drinking in public has an adverse effect not only on visitors' perception but also on the quality of life of residents. Working closely with our partners in the local authorities, I'm confident that we can have a positive impact on the area.
But the order has not proved popular with everyone. Children's Commissioner for Wales Keith Towler has said outright that he doesn't think a blanket ban on under-16s will work, branding it an 'ineffective', 'time-consuming' and 'potentially damaging' way of tackling anti-social behaviour.
He added: "I think it will criminalise all children and young people and will certainly demonise a lot of children and young people."
Mr Towler said that instead of blanket-banning youngsters, he'd prefer to see the community engaging with them to resolve any issues they feel they might have.
When asked, youngsters in Bangor had mixed reviews on the scheme. One branded it 'weird and ridiculous' but another conceded that it might be 'a good idea'. Lorna Prichard reports.