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City sets up 'dispersal zone' to force out troublemakers 

Police response comes after increasing antisocial behaviour and vandalism in Aberdeen.

Zone: Groups may be asked to moved on outside Union Square.
Zone: Groups may be asked to moved on outside Union Square. Wikipedia

A zone in which police can force troublemakers to move on is being set up in Aberdeen.

The 'dispersal zone' aims to help tackle antisocial behaviour and disorder, giving police the power to ban people for 24 hours.

Officers can confront groups of two or more people and force them to leave Union Street, Bon Accord and Union Square shopping centres, Union Terrace and Market Street.

Anyone who refuses to comply or returns to the area within the timeframe could be arrested.

Police Scotland said it took the decision under the Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 following a rise in antisocial behaviour, vandalism and assault by young people in the last few weeks.

'In the last few weeks we have seen a number of young people from across the north east in addition to those from Aberdeen congregating in the city centre and some have been choosing to engage in antisocial behaviour.'
Vicky Stables, Community Policing Team Inspector

It is expected to be in operation every day until the end of August between midday and midnight.

Community policing team Inspector Vicky Stables said: "The power of dispersal will only be used if it is believed that the presence or behaviour of groups has distressed members of the public.

"It is for the small minority who are intent on causing harm and distress to members of the public.

"We know the vast majority of people coming to Aberdeen city centre are doing so peacefully and this measure is just one that we can use to help protect the public from antisocial behaviour."

'[The zone] is for the small minority who are intent on causing harm and distress to members of the public.'
Vicky Stables, Community Policing Team Inspector

Aberdeen City Council public protection committee convener Councillor Jennifer Stewart said: "A small number of people have been responsible for antisocial and offending behaviour in recent months and we will always support robust action to help ensure the safety of all who live and visit our city centre.

"This order will help ensure all residents and visitors can enjoy their visit."

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