Police in new crackdown on anti-social behaviour

Reporter:

Andrew Boyd

EXTRA police are to patrol Wrexham town centre to crack down on anti-social behaviour.

Police officers are launching Operation Valbonne, which will tackle a minority of individuals causing trouble and intimidating shoppers.

The scheme will see increased numbers of police patrols on the streets on selected days, targeting anyone whose behaviour is considered to be anti-social.

It comes after a dispersal order was introduced last year to exclude troublesome drunks, drug addicts and beggars in the area centered on St Giles’ Church, including the High Street.

Earlier this month police said the scheme had been so successful they had decided to close it down early.

But PC Lee Parker, neighbourhood policing officer for Wrexham town centre, who is helping front the scheme, said Operation Valbonne would not just be focused on one area of the town centre.

He said: “In Wrexham we have got an issue with a small group who are causing anti-social behaviour in Wrexham town centre while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

“We are tackling the problem and have already convicted a number of people and have subsequently obtained criminal anti-social behaviour orders against them.”

PC Parker said work to deal with troublemakers was ongoing and a criminal anti-social behaviour order had already been obtained against one person who was consistently begging. He has warned others who are caught committing anti-social behaviour they could face similar sanctions.

“Working in partnership with CCTV there will be extra police officers and PSCOs patrolling the town centre and specifically targeting this group of individuals,” he said.

“We want people who are coming to Wrexham and shopping to not be intimidated.”

l The dispersal zone gave officers the power to move on anyone behaving in an anti-social way in part of the town centre and, if necessary, order them to stay out of it for 48 hours.

The success of the operation was questioned by members of the Wrexham business community, who claimed problems had continued in recent months.

But Insp Mark Williams said earlier this month: “The dispersal order was put in place for a specific purpose.

“Our records show that it worked to great effect. If some believe that the particular problems have just been moved to other areas, we will look into these problems with their co-operation.”

See full story in the Leader

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