Police have been given more powers to move people on in part of Stafford.
It follows concerns raised by residents about anti-social behaviour in theMilford Common area.
In a bid to tackle the issue, the town’s Neighbourhood Policing Team have put a dispersal order in place.
The order began at midday today (25 June) and will last 24 hours – unless extended.
The order, granted under section 34 of the Anti-social behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, gives officers the power to disperse anyone for the purpose of or reducing the likelihood of members of the public in the locality being harassed, alarmed, distressed or the occurrence of crime and disorder.
Failing to comply with an order is a criminal offence and police can return anyone under the age of 16 to their home address.
They can issue the notices for a period of up to 48 hours and anyone found breaching a notice is liable to be arrested and face further action.
Chief Inspector Giles Parsons from Stafford’s Neighbourhood Policing Team said, “Following an increase in calls from concerned residents, officers will be patrolling the area over the coming days to tackle any instances of crime or anti-social behaviour.
“The majority of people go out to meet up with their friends and do not cause any problems. However, there is a number of individuals that have engaged in anti-social behaviour, which has caused the community to feel worried by these larger groups.
“We understand that people will want to enjoy places like Milford Common and the wider countryside but we ask that it’s respected. In the current climate, social distancing measures also need to be adhered to.
“I would like to stress that officers will only use these powers where absolutely necessary and appeal to parents and guardians to ensure that they know where their children are, what they are up to and who they are with.”
Anyone with any concerns can contact Staffordshire Police by calling 101, reporting online at https://www.staffordshire.police.uk/report or sending a direct message on Facebook or Twitter.