POLICE powers to disperse trouble makers from Barnstaple town centre have been hailed a success and extended until January of next year. The Section 30 order has enabled officers to disperse anyone over the age of 10 who is committing or likely to commit

POLICE powers to disperse trouble makers from Barnstaple town centre have been hailed a success and extended until January of next year.

The Section 30 order has enabled officers to disperse anyone over the age of 10 who is committing or likely to commit anti-social behaviour.

If those people refuse to leave or return to the specified area within 24 hours then they can be arrested.

The current order expired on Monday but following consultation between the North Devon and Barnstaple Town councils, local and partner agencies it has been extended until January 4.

Sergeant Paul Jones, neighbourhood team leader for Barnstaple town centre, said the order had been maded for a number of years and was a major factor in the four per cent reduction in violent crime recorded in the town this year.

"We have concentrated on tried and tested good old fashioned policing with local officers on foot engaging with shoppers and revellers both day and night," he said.

"This approach has so far seen a 72 per cent detection rate in all violent crime for the whole of Barnstaple with those offenders being brought to justice."

Devon and Cornwall Police have a positive charge policy which means if the order is breached anyone arrested will be put before a court.

Sergeant Jones added: "This order has been welcomed by both residents and business owners within Barnstaple for providing an immediate and robust deterrent to deal with any anti social individual whose behaviour at that point does not necessitate being arrested.

"We would like to extend a warm welcome to anyone living within or visiting Barnstaple to talk with local officers when they are in town, which helps us to maintain confidence in policing at its traditional high levels.