City centre dispersal order will let Plymouth police tackle tombstoners and anti-social behaviour
POLICE are being given extra powers that will allow them to stop groups of youths jumping off the cliffs on the Hoe.
A new dispersal order, signed last night, will also give extra powers to target crime and anti-social behaviour in Plymouth city centre.
The order covering the city centre, Waterfront, Union Street, North Hill and Mutley Plain will come into effect this month.
It follows a similar order that was in place last summer, and was requested by the police.
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Cllr Chris Penberthy, the city council's Cabinet member for community development, signed the order last night as a delegated decision.
Cllr Penberthy said: "The order is an important tool to ensure that people visiting the area are able to do so safely and without harassment.
"It is also in place for the safety of groups who might become slightly irresponsible in their behaviour.
"This means that groups of tombstoners could be dispersed. It tends to be groups of youths who egg each other on.
"The police will be able to deal with anti-social behaviour at events like the British Fireworks Championships as quietly as possible instead of criminalising people."
He said the dispersal orders were part of the tool-kit for dealing with the evening and night-time economy.
"It's a low-level intervention because it removes groups from the area.
"These orders work, and people have said they want them back.
"It's not age-specific and not necessarily alcohol-related.
"It will improve everyone's experience of the Waterfront and city centre."
The order will be in place round the clock from March 25 to September 9 this year.
It will cover an area bounded by the seafront from Devil's Point travelling east to Victoria Pier and then turning inland including the Barbican Leisure Park.
The boundary follows Sutton Road into Exeter Street turning north into Gasking Street before joining the east side of North Hill.
It continues up North Hill and includes Mutley Plain and its service lanes, before returning down the western edge of North Hill.
It runs west along Cobourg Street into Saltash Road incorporating Victoria Park, Eldad Hill, Stoke Road, turning west into High Street and heading south through Stonehouse to Admiral's Hard following the shoreline to Devil's Point.
The boundary is considered to be 50 metres into the sea when shown waterside.
The order is subject to call in by scrutiny.
Cllr Penberthy said: "We want to make sure everyone can have a fun and safe time especially with our exciting programme of spring and summer events.
"The dispersal order and other measures will help the community and partner agencies prevent crime and anti-social behaviour so the city is a safer place for residents and visitors."
Last summer The Herald told the story of Ben Thompson who was left paralysed, as a warning to other tombstoners.
The 20-year-old broke his neck and will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair after leaping from the Hoe into shallow waters.
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