Resort town of Rhyl tackles anti-social behaviour
- 3 August 2010
- From the section Wales
Police, businesses and local councillors say they are winning the battle to rid a seaside resort of anti-social behaviour.
In the last three months, North Wales Police have enforced a dispersal order along the length of Rhyl's seafront.
The mile long promenade had become a magnet for groups drinking and fighting from early morning into the evening.
But the dispersal order has allowed police to confiscate alcohol and order gangs to leave the area.
"This congregation of about 40 people, male and female, were gathering in the area from eight o'clock in the morning drinking," explained one of the town's community beat managers, Pc Les Jones.
"Members of the public, virtually on a daily basis, along with council staff, were subjected to swearing, witnessing these people fighting, urinating in the bushes, vomiting, and just generally unhealthy and unsavoury business."
But in May, working in conjunction with Denbighshire council and the town's community safety partnership, North Wales Police were granted the powers of a dispersal order covering the entire area.
"What happens now is that any activity of drinking on the beach, either the (CCTV) camera people alert the police or the local authority staff alert the police," said Pc Jones.
"We'll turn up, we'll take details, we'll confiscate alcohol, and we'll ask those individuals to leave the area and not to return within 24 hours - or face arrest."
North Wales Police said the enforcement action has had a significant affect on anti-social behaviour along the promenade.
Lesley Roberts, who works at the Sizzlers cafe near Splash Point on the Rhyl Prom said the dispersal order had made a difference.
"They cause a lot of trouble asking people for money and cigarettes and stuff, and urinating everywhere," she said.
"Before the dispersal notice we had to come out all the time asking people to leave our customers alone.
"It was quite intimidating for us."
Mrs Roberts said since the order was made she has seen about an 85% improvement in the situation - but thinks even more could be done.
"It is working - almost," she added.
"A bit more could be done, we could see a bit more police presence."
However, Rhyl Town councillor, Michael Espley, said the impact of the enforcement order had also brought benefits away from the seafront.
"People that have been causing the problem on the promenade have been purchasing their alcohol in the town centre.
"I've seen how that has brought the anti-social behaviour right down throughout the high street.
"So what we've now seen is a reduction in the number of drunk people entering the town centre.
"From that perspective, it is improving the tourist element of the town by making it a cleaner, nicer place to be."
The dispersal notice is set to remain in force in the town throughout the rest of the summer holiday season and into the autumn, when it is expected to be lifted in November.