Rowdy youths could be banned from Aberdeen city centre for 24 hours under police proposals to crack down on antisocial behaviour.
The so-called dispersal zone would allow officers to order youngsters to leave the area if they are causing trouble – and prosecute them if they return.
During a meeting at Aberdeen City Centre Community Council this week, Inspector Vicky Stables outlined the plans, which are currently out for public consultation.
Inspector Stables, pictured above, said recently there has been an increase in reports of youths, between the ages of 12-20, committing antisocial behaviour and admitted it was “challenging” for the force.
She said during the month of October last year there was a total of four incidents reported to police of youth intimidation, however that number has recently hit about 40 a month.
Insp Stables said: “I must stress that we are not tarring all young people with the same brush – the majority of them that come into the city centre do behave. It is just when they congregate in the larger numbers, in an excess of 20 or more, then on that manner alone it can be intimidating, and the way they are acting in a rowdy manner can be intimidating to members of the public.
“These measures are only for groups committing antisocial behaviour. They will be asked to leave and if they return within 24 hours that is when they commit an offence.”
A similar scheme was introduced in Torry in 2011 and was considered a success.
The consultation period ends at noon next Friday and the dispersal zone could come into force in the days following. If agreed, the zone would last a total of three months but an extension could be requested if a significant number of anti-social behaviour is documented.
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Insp Stables added: “We are anticipating that the calls will increase in the warmer weather and in the summer holidays.
“We have taken into consideration the hot spot areas, which includes Union Square, Union Street and Bon Accord and St Nicholas shopping centres and the areas in between.”
Dustin Macdonald, chairman of the Aberdeen City Centre Community Council, said having a dispersal zone could be a deterrent but co-operation between agencies, as well as with parents, is necessary too.
He added: “Living in the city centre, there is a level of youths congregating around certain areas which can be intimidating.
“It is open to the police to use all powers available to them.
“Something does need to be done.
“Working together we could find a solution.”