A DISPERSAL zone in Stirling is going live today.

Police designated an area in the city centre to combat anti-social behaviour and disorder 24hours a day from Wednesday, October 3, for three months.

The zone’s boundaries are Goosecroft Road to the east, Stirling Castle Esplanade to the north, Dumbarton Road to the west and Upper Craigs to the south.

If anyone is directed by police to leave the area, they could be arrested without warrant if they return within 24hours.

Chief Inspector Gill Boulton, area commander for Stirling, said: “The Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 gives officers a Power of Dispersal within the zone, so anyone in groups of two or more congregating and behaving anti-socially will be directed to leave and not return within 24 hours.

“This should be a strong deterrent as they will be arrested if they do return in this time.

“We have been speaking to councillors, local businesses and the public about the zone for several weeks now and it has been received positively by most.

“I am confident that the zone will help us in continuing the success of Operation Steadfast in reducing incidents of anti-social behaviour, general disorder and drug misuse which have become somewhat prevalent in the city centre.

“Concerns have been raised about simply moving these issues elsewhere – I want to reassure people that this is just one way we are looking to tackle these problems.

“The use of the dispersal zone is part of an overall approach and will ensure that those who need help and support for drug and alcohol problems can be offered it, and other work in conjunction with the council to improve safety in the city centre will also be carried out.”

Councillor Maureen Bennison, convener of the Public Safety Committee, added: “Businesses and residents in the city centre have been calling out for the police and the council to take a stance against anti-social behaviour and this is proof that the authorities are listening.

“Make no mistake – this is a strong step taken by the police but it underlines our commitment to ensure our partnership working in the area brings the best results for the community.”