The Anti‐Social Behaviour Act (2003) gives police powers to designate areas as ‘dispersal zones’ for up to six months, where there is evidence of persistent antisocial behaviour. Findings from research into the use and impact of dispersal orders are presented and comparisons are drawn with the Scottish experience. A central message from the research is that where enforcement alone is the defining attribute of dispersal order implementation, the powers constitute a ‘sticking plaster’ over local problems, but invariably fail to address the wider causes of perceived antisocial behaviour.
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