North Yorkshire Police have been given officers and PCSOs new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour in the Stonebow, Colliergate and St Saviourgate areas of the city.
There has been no public consultation by the York Council on the proposal which potentially represents a significant extension to police powers.
A dispersal order comes into action today – Friday 28 June – and will run until 27 December 2013.
It is enforceable between the hours of 9pm and 6am and gives the police powers to disperse groups of two or more people whose behaviour is intimidating or causing harassment, alarm or distress to members of the public.
To remain in or return to this area having been told to leave by the police, may be an offence under Section 30(4) of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.
Breaching the order is punishable by up to three months’ imprisonment or a fine of up to £5,000, or both.
Temporary Superintendent Phil Cain, of York Safer Neighbourhood Command, said: “The introduction of these new powers is excellent news for the people whose lives have been blighted by anti-social and intimidating behaviour.
“The area covered by the dispersal order has suffered from street drinking, fighting and general anti-social behaviour over the past few years.
“Local residents care deeply about their neighbourhood and are rightly proud of their city. It is on their behalf that we have worked together with the City of York Council to establish the new powers with the aim of improving the quality of life for everyone who lives, works or visits our fabulous city.”
T/Supt Cain added: “Anti-social behaviour is completely unacceptable and to ensure the dispersal order is used to maximum effect, members of the public are encouraged to be our eyes and ears and to call the police on 101 if they see anyone flouting the order.
“The dispersal order will run for six months and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure a plan is in place to tackle the issues in the long term.”
The area covered by the new order includes Fossgate following the river line across Merchantgate junction with Parliament Street. To the junction with Church Street and up to – and including – Goodramgate, its junction with Deangate, junction with Monk Bar, junction with Jewbury Road, junction with Layerthorpe Bridge and Peasholme Green. It also includes the River Foss bounded by the Hungate area, extending to Fossgate and all the areas within these boundaries.
Poster are on display in the area to make people aware of the dispersal order. Letters have also been sent to known offenders warning them of the order.