Police given powers to arrest anyone behaving suspiciously in Bethnal Green housing block
PUBLISHED: 11:44 13 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:40 13 February 2018
A block of flats in Bethnal Green has been issued with a closure order following complaints of drugs, rough sleeping and people urinating in its public areas.
For the next three months, anyone found in the communal areas of Bentworth Court in Granby Street, without reason to be there, risks a fine or three months in jail.
One suspect has already been arrested and kept in custody for breaching the order.
Inspector Darren Baxter, who applied for the order from Thames Magistrates Court, said: “A number of residents in Bentworth Court are vulnerable due to age or disability.
“This closure represents a new way to tackle anti-social behaviour and drug use in partnership with the council and Tower Hamlets Homes and will improve the quality of life of our residents.”
This is the first time the magistrates court has allowed the use of closure notices to combat anti-social behaviour in social housing.
The order was obtained with the help of Tower Hamlets Council and Tower Hamlets Homes.
John Biggs, mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “This is an innovative piece of partnership work that will benefit our residents enormously.
“We are committed to maximising our powers to stamp out crime and anti-social behaviour.
“We are sending the message that it is not ok to behave in a way that impacts badly on others.”
A consultation was carried out with residents to decide whether the order should be implemented. They voted overwhelmingly in favour of its introduction.
Chief executive of Tower Hamlets Homes, Susmita Sen, said: “This is a difficult and unusual situation and we only took this measure as a last resort.
“We had to find a way of to stop the lives of residents being made a misery by people not living in the block.
“We gave our full support to the police in applying for this order only when we were sure we had the full backing of residents.”
The order falls under section 80 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. It will last for three months, but can be extended with an application.