Dispersal zone introduced in Liverpool city centre
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We have introduced a Dispersal Zone in Liverpool city centre today (Saturday 21 November) following a gathering last weekend that was in contravention of coronavirus legislation.
The order runs from 11am today (Saturday) until 00:01 on Sunday 22 November and officers will be in the area to provide a visible presence and deal with any incidents.
It has been introduced as we believe people may gather unlawfully in Liverpool city centre again today.
The Dispersal Zone covers the area within the blue square on the map, in the boundary of these roads: River Front, Mariners Wharf, Princes Parade, A5053, A5052, Strand Street, Wapping, A562, Upper Parliament Street, Grove Street, Low Hill, Erskine Street, Islington, A59 and all roads, paths, bridle ways, car parks, parks, and public spaces that are within that boundary marked in red.
The order comes under Section 34 of the Anti-Social Behaviour & Policing Act 2014, which gives police officers and police community support traffic officers powers to direct people they suspect are causing or likely to cause crime, nuisance or anti-social behaviour to members of the public to leave a designated area and not return for up to 48 hours.
Under the legislation, officers have the power to seize any item, including vehicles, used in the commission of anti-social behaviour.
Should a person who has previously been directed to leave the area return, an offence would be committed, which they may ultimately be arrested for.
Chief Superintendent Ngaire Waine said: “Mass gatherings have been limited by Government for a reason – they risk spreading a virus which has killed more than 50,000 people in the UK and made many others very ill.
“Organising or participating in an unlawful gathering of more than two people will lead to arrest and prosecution, or a substantial fine.
“Such gatherings in Liverpool in recent weeks have involved several hundred people showing a lack of social distancing with many not wearing face coverings, and last weekend we brought in a Section 34 Dispersal Zone to disperse an unlawful gathering that formed at the Bombed Out Church.
“We arrested a number of people on suspicion of breaching the Dispersal Zone after they had returned to the area, and investigations are ongoing. If people continue to gather unlawfully, we will not hesitate to take the same course of action.”
Chief Supt Waine added: “The overwhelming majority of people in Merseyside have made huge sacrifices throughout this pandemic, missing weddings, funerals and family birthday celebrations in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus.
“We all want to get back to normality as soon as possible, and Tier 3 and national lockdown restrictions have had a positive effect on driving down transmission rates. With 140,000 people in Liverpool taking part in the mass testing pilot, the people of this city have stopped up to the plate to do their bit.
“But the minority who are intent on gathering in small groups simply will not help these efforts, and risk prolonging the challenging period we are all facing.
“For the sake of people across Merseyside, the people you live with, next door to, and work alongside – don’t be tempted to join any large gathering or protest, and make your voice heard in a safer and legal way.”