Dispersal zone to tackle anti-social behaviour in Ilford town centre

Ilford station, which is covered by the new dispersal zone

Ilford station, which is covered by the new dispersal zone - Credit: Archant

A dispersal zone has been set up in Ilford town centre to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The order gives police and police community support officers the power to disperse groups from the area for up to 24 hours where there are reasons to believe that their presence has resulted in members of the public being “harassed, intimidated, alarmed or distressed”.

The area around Ilford Station and York Road came into force at the weekend after residents voiced concerns.

Police and Redbridge Council say there is a “significant and persistent” problem with people being harassed by groups in the area.

A dispersal zone was previously set up around Ilford Lane to combat prostitution.

Insp Wayne McBride at Redbridge Police said: “We have seen an increase in street drinkers and cannabis users in the area.

“There was also an increase in reports around anti-social behaviour. This is the evidence we put forward to get a zone. There was not a rise in crime as such, but a rise in complaints from residents to councillors.”

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The dispersal zone comes under Part 4 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, which allows councils to create such zones at the request of the police.

It is bordered by streets including Audrey Road, Beal Road, Morland Road and Clements Road.

Constables and PCSOs can tell people in groups to disperse and also tell people who do not live in the area to leave and not return for a specified period.

Insp McBride said officers in high-visibility jackets will also be employing the tactic of overt filming, with videos then used for criminal proceedings.

Concerned residents are encouraged to put forward their views to the police.

Insp McBride added that their priority is the reduction of anti-social behaviour and offences related to alcohol and drugs.

The zone will end on March 1.