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Merseyside Police introduce Section 34 dispersal order following large gathering in Sefton Park

Police are in attendance after receiving reports of large groups of people gathering in Sefton Park this afternoon (Wednesday 17 March) to celebrate St Patricks Day.


Merseyside Police have introduced a Dispersal Zone in South Liverpool today, Wednesday 17 March, following large gatherings in Sefton Park earlier today in breach of Covid-19 regulations. 

The order runs from 6pm today until 6am on Wednesday 18 March and officers will be in the area to provide a visible presence and deal with any incidents. 

The Dispersal Zone covers the area bounded in the map and includes Sefton Park, Princes Park, Greenbank Park, Toxteth Park Cemetery and the surrounding area. 

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.

Superintendent Mark Wiggins said:

“We have already dispersed groups of people who chose irresponsibly to ignore Covid regulations and the dispersal order introduced this evening helps us to prevent similar issues from recurring.  

“This Dispersal Zone is not about bothering people going about their legitimate daily business, but an appropriate response to the gatherings we saw in the park this afternoon which involved a large number of irresponsible individuals gathering in large groups and who took no account of the health implications to others from the current pandemic. This will not be tolerated by Merseyside Police .”

Anyone who wishes to report breaches of Covid-19 regulations, anti-social or criminal behaviour can contact Merseyside Police at @MerpolCC on Twitter or ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ on Facebook or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Always call 999 in an emergency.

Earlier statement from Chief Inspector Karl Baldwin said:

“Such blatant disregard of the Covid-19 regulations, which are in place to protect our communities, will not be tolerated by Merseyside Police.

“We are still in a national lockdown and large gatherings, either indoors or outdoors, are currently not permitted under the current rules which state that you can only mix outdoors with one other person outside your household or support bubble. 

“Now, more than ever, people should be taking heed of the regulations, so that infection rates can continue to drop, and we can meet the criteria necessary for easing lockdown in the upcoming weeks and months. 

“We know that adhering to the rules over the past year and not seeing family and friends has been really difficult but we all need to pull together and follow the rules as such reckless behaviour now will put any future easing of the lockdown rules in jeopardy. 

“We need to do everything we can to protect the public during this pandemic and, rest assured, police will not hesitate to take action when people show such blatant disregard for the rules as we are seeing in Sefton Park this afternoon. 

“We would urge people who are planning to go the park in large groups of multiple households this afternoon to think again as by flouting the rules in this way you not only risk catching and spreading coronavirus but also put yourself at risk receiving a substantial fine.” 

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