Policy Press

Publishing with a purpose

The use and impact of dispersal orders

Sticking plasters and wake-up calls

By Adam Crawford and Stuart Lister


Oct 18, 2007

Page count

96 pages




297 x 210 mm


Policy Press
The use and impact of dispersal orders

The dispersal order - one of a variety of new powers introduced by the government to help police and local authorities address problems of disorder and incivilities - gives police powers to disperse groups of two or more from designated areas. Yet, controversially, these powers raise concerns regarding infringements of individual rights. This report provides the first in-depth study of the use and impact of dispersal orders.

The report draws on extensive sources of data, including interviews with policy-makers and practitioners involved in implementing schemes across the UK; two detailed city-wide reviews; and two in-depth case studies. It explores the manner in which dispersal orders were experienced and interpreted by local adults and youths and considers their implications for local social relations. The authors assess the balance between enforcement and preventive approaches to local problems and the growing salience of public perceptions in policing. They also provide important insights into local best practice and implications for future policy development.

This report will be a vital resource for all those interested in developing strategies to enhance community safety or keen to understand the impact of policing reforms. It will be particularly relevant to researchers and students of policing, policy-makers, police, community safety officers, anti-social behaviour practitioners, and those working with young people.

Adam Crawford is Professor of Criminology and Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Leeds. Stuart Lister is a Lecturer in Criminal Justice also at the University of Leeds. Both have significant experience in researching matters of contemporary policing, community safety and youth justice.

Summary; Introduction; Dispersal order powers and research overview; National overview; A tale of two cities; Two case studies; Policing and young people; Conclusions and policy implications.

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