Dispersal Zone – Update

January 18, 2008

Historically, there have been major problems to the local community in Brixton, caused by drug dealers and drug users for many years. There has been ongoing work by the police and the council and partner agencies to help address these issues, such as Operation Refresh and the Brixton Case Review Panel.

In the last couple of years, residents of Saltoun Road have been experiencing increased levels of crime and Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) surrounding drugs. This ASB spills over to the surround roads (Kellett Road and Rushcroft Road)

Following complaints from residents over a prolonged period and extensive consultation with residents and the wider community, in part through the SNP, the implementation of a dispersal zone within a defined area was agreed, to run for 6 months from the end of May.

The SNP has been involved in the process for several months and provided feedback that has led to changes in the proposals, predominantly around the area covered by the zone

Whilst the Panel was fully appreciative of the residents’ situation, there were counterbalancing concerns that the zone could result in perceptions of a heavy handed policing style, particularly with regard to young people. The Panel was also keen that, whilst the dispersal power was on a 24 hour basis, it should be seen to be addressing residents’ main concern which was during evenings, night time and early morning.

For that reason, the police have provided statistical updates at each Panel meeting detail individual (anonymised) dispersal notices issued.
Generally, the numbers of orders issued has not been great – less than one per day over the period. They have been issued predominantly in the evenings/night-time and young people are under-represented. The reasons for dispersal have been generally in line with the expressed concerns of residents.

There has been a reported downside of some displacement in neighbouring streets. There is a proposal to extend the zone to take in Marcus Garvey Way, the Moorlands Estate and the Peace Gardens. The Panel are conscious that too wide a zone can become harder to effectively enforce.

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