TROUBLEMAKERS persistently causing a nuisance in Bognor Regis town centre will be asked to leave thanks to a new order.
A first dispersal order for the central area comes into force on Sunday.
It gives police officers and PCSOs the legal power to insist groups of two or more people causing significant and persistent anti-social behaviour leave the area for up to 24 hours.
The order is not designed to create an exclusion zone or a curfew area but is intended to make the area more pleasant for those who live, work and visit.
The additional power will enable the police to deal more effectively with groups who decide to cause problems.
Sergeant Neal Harvey, of Sussex Police, Arun neighbourhood policing team, said: “We are introducing this zone for the residents and businesses who have been affected by the street drinkers who cause some anti-social behaviour in the town centre area.
“This dispersal zone will help us to combat anti-social behaviour which is primarily caused by the street drinking community in the town centre.
“The order will help the immediate problems their anti-social behaviour can cause.
“But we are looking at the longer term help we can give these people alongside our partners at the council, local homelessness services, substance misuse services and outreach workers who hold monthly multi-agency meetings to develop strategies to help members of the street community.”
The dispersal order will last for six months.
It has been introduced in response to an increase in complaints of members of the public being harassed, alarmed or distressed by groups of two or more people in the town centre.
The order is a joint initiative of Sussex Police, British Transport Police and Arun District Council.
Roger Wood, Arun’s head of neighbourhoods, said: “We are determined that the social and economic environment in Bognor should not be adversely affected by the actions of a minority.”
A person who returns to the area after they have been ordered to leave can be arrested. Failure to obey the order could lead to three months in jail or a fine of up to £2,500.