Section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 gives a Police Constable and a Police Community Support Officer in uniform the power to exclude a person from an area for a period of up to 48 hours with an Inspector’s authority.
In addition to the Inspector’s authority the officer must have reasonable grounds to suspect that the behaviour of the person in the locality has contributed to or is likely to contribute to:
- members of the public in the locality being harassed, alarmed or distressed, or
- the occurrence in the locality of crime or disorder, and
- that the PC or PCSO considers that giving a direction to the person is necessary for the purpose of removing or reducing the likelihood of the above
The direction given by a PC or PCSO in uniform:
- must be given in writing, unless that is not reasonably practicable
- must specify the area to which it relates
- may impose requirements as to the time by which the person must leave the area and the manner in which the person must do so (including the route)
- the officer must (unless it is not reasonably practicable) tell the person to whom the direction is given that failing without reasonable excuse to comply with it is an offence
Section 35 dispersal power can be used by police officers and designated PCSOs to deal with individuals aged 10 or over engaging in anti-social behaviour or crime and disorder not only when they have occurred or are occurring, but when they are likely to occur and in any locality. A child aged under 16 can be removed to their home address or a place of safety.
It applies to any behaviour, not just alcohol-related crime and disorder, and does not require the pre-designation of a dispersal zone.
The key difference is that the new power requires the authority of an officer of the rank of Inspector or above before a person can be given direction to leave the locality.
The authorising officer must record the authorisation in writing, specify the grounds on which it is made and sign the authorisation. Practically, this can be recorded electronically on a local system.
The person being directed to leave must be given a written notice.
When can the power be used?
There are two conditions to use the dispersal power when authorised by an Inspector or above:
The officer must have reasonable grounds to suspect that the behaviour of the person has contributed to, or is likely to contribute to:
- members of the public in the locality being harassed, alarmed or distressed or;
- crime and disorder in the locality
- the officer considers the direction to leave necessary for removing or reducing the likelihood of crime, disorder or ASB
What information should be on the notice?
The notice must be given unless it's not reasonably practicable to do so. It should specify:
- name, address and date of birth of the person being directed to leave
- the time the direction is given
- the terms of the direction including details of the area from which they are excluded and the exclusion period (up to 48 hours from the time of issue)