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New sergeant launches crackdown on youths
7:00pm Saturday 24th August 2013 in New Forest News
VERWOOD’S new sergeant has launched a war on youngsters causing misery for residents.
Sgt Nicola Loftus has drafted in extra officers from other beats to tackle a problem that has been causing concern for years, particularly at Potterne.
The new drive comes after dozens of cars were damaged in one night of destruction recently, but she says a particular group has been causing problems for years, and the new drive is already starting to cut antisocial behaviour.
From tomorrow, after an agreement between the police and the councils, officers will also have extra powers to move troublemakers on.
Sgt Loftus said: “When I came to Verwood I identified several hotspots where we needed to take a more robust approach, because it’s been going on too long. A predominantly male group aged 15 to 23 have been gathering – up to 30 on the hotter days – and we’ve been much more in their faces, which is starting to make a difference.
“From tomorrow we will also be able to take home anyone who is in a public place in those areas between 9pm and 6am if there are reasonable grounds to believe the person is under 16, is participating in antisocial behaviour or affected by others behaving antisocially, and they are not under the control of a parent or other responsible person aged 18 or over.
“Many of them have been banned from local pubs and now just hang around Potterne drinking.
It’s a great area where big efforts have been made to provide lots of activities for all, and I won’t have this group ruin it for everyone.
“But we’ve already confiscated alcohol from them and a couple have already been through the courts and received fines for their behaviour.
“We’re definitely taking the right steps forward, and we will use the new powers from tomorrow to their full extent.”
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