Police officers will be handed new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour in Thame following complaints from the community about unruly conduct.
Groups of three or more people will not be allowed to meet in public areas of the south Oxfordshire town if they are deemed to be behaving anti-socially.
Those causing problems could be fined if they refuse to move when requested to do so by officers, who can use their new powers from May 1.
South Oxfordshire District Council is introducing the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) following concerns raised by the community.
The order received strong support during a public consultation last year and was approved by cabinet last week. It will only target anti-social behaviour and will not prevent groups from gathering together peacefully, the authority stressed.
Councillor Elizabeth Gillespie, SODC’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “The new public spaces protection order gives police in Thame greater powers to address anti-social behaviour caused by groups congregating in public areas. This could include those intimidating passers-by or anyone repeatedly causing a nuisance.
“PSPOs can be tailored to the needs of a specific town. The measures we have included to tackle group related problems in Thame received significant support from the local community.”
People will be asked to move on if they are considered to be behaving anti-socially, or likely to cause alarm, distress or be a nuisance to those nearby in public spaces.
The Thame community was quizzed on proposals last year.
SODC said it received 241 responses during the four-week consultation, with 92 per cent in favour of giving police powers to tackle anti-social behaviour.
The same percentage of people also supported reducing the age range for the new powers to start from those aged 16 plus rather than from 18.
The new powers will compliment the force’s current ability, covered by the town’s Designated Public Places Order (DPPO), to confiscate alcohol from people behaving anti-socially in public areas.
If they refuse to hand the alcohol over they can be fined. The DPPO only applies to public areas and not to licensed premises.