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Dispersal zone set up to tackle anti-social behaviour in Whitechapel

PUBLISHED: 10:58 07 May 2013 | UPDATED: 12:43 07 May 2013

Prostitutes, binge drinkers and kerb crawlers are being targeted in a ‘dispersal zone’ set up to tackle anti-social behaviour during the summer.

Police have been given extra powers to help deal with the problem area around Whitechapel, with trouble spot Brick Lane at its centre.

The powers give officers the right to demand groups of people leave the area for 24 hours if they are behaving in an anti-social or threatening way.

Anyone who refuses to comply could be slapped with a £2,500 fine - or even a jail term.

Ch Insp Gary Anderson from Tower Hamlets police said: “The night time economy attracts people from all over London who mostly enjoy themselves.

“But we get a huge amount of complaints from residents and local organisations about noise and unpopular behaviour. This gives us another tool to address the issues.”

Residents have previously complained of finding urine, vomit and event human excrement in the area around Brick Lane, as drunken revellers descend at weekends.

But Jon Shapiro, vice chair of residents’ organisation the Spitalfields Community Group, welcomed the dispersal zone and praised police for listening to people’s concerns.

Deputy mayor of Tower Hamlets Cllr Ohid Ahmed said: “Anti-social behaviour is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. I am confident the dispersal zone will improve the quality of life for residents and businesses based here.”

The area covered is from Commercial Street in the west, down to Whitechapel Road in the south, Bethnal Green Road in the north, and Wilmot Street and Brady Street in the east.

The dispersal zone came into effect on Monday and will be in force until November 3.

It is the second time such a zone has been established in Tower Hamlets, with a smaller area set up in Bethnal Green earlier this year.


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