Police authorise dispersal order to stamp out anti social behaviour in and around Ely leisure park

McDonalds is working with East Cambs Police to tackle anti social behaviour at the new Ely Lesiure p

McDonalds is working with East Cambs Police to tackle anti social behaviour at the new Ely Lesiure park complex - Credit: Archant

Police defended their decision to implement a dispersal order from 3pm on Saturday until 7am today to stamp out anti-social behaviour in and around Ely leisure park.

“The vast majority of the young people in Ely and East Cambs are very nice young people who show respect and good manners,” said a force spokesman.

“One or two can discolour the overall perception though - which we really don’t want to happen. We are here to help those well behaved young people who want to enjoy that venue too.”

The dispersal order was authorised by Chief Inspector Paul Ormerod who said it gave his officers the power to require people who are acting anti-socially to leave the area and not return for 48 hours.

“Anyone who does not comply with the order can be arrested,” said the spokesman.

Incidents in recent weeks have included threatening behaviour and criminal damages.

A week earlier a man was arrested and later charged with criminal damage after an incident at McDonalds in that area.

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“As a result of the dispersal order being in place there will be an additional police presence in the area over the course of the weekend,” said the spokesman.

Sergeant Phil Priestley said: “The power has to be authorised by an officer at the rank of inspector.

“Chief Inspector Ormerod agreed to the use of this power as a proportionate and reasonable response to recent events.

“The power also allows police officers to return children between the ages of 10 and 16 to their home address or to a place of safety”.

He added: “People have the right to visit and work at the leisure village without being intimidated or subjected to anti-social behaviour. We are striving to keep our communities safe and will not tolerate this kind of negative behaviour.”

Ione resident, Sherri Halls, posted on the police Facebook page that “it seems madness that a special timed order has to be made. Police should be allowed to disperse trouble makers at any time.”

The police spokesman responded: “ There are lots of ways to tackle the problem but this specific legislation was devised in 2014 for exactly this type of thing and it helps us to move more quickly simply on the suspicion that people are participating in ASB. “This is a short term measure, but we’re working with the district council and the commercial partners at the leisure village for a long term solution.”

Police told another critic who said “next it’ll be curfews and checkpoints. Ely is a warzone. Not safe anymore” that this was not so.

“I can reassure you that this is not the case,” said the police spokesman. “East Cambs remains one of the lowest crime areas in the UK.”