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Police issue Section 35 in Richmond this weekend after ‘large’ gatherings

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Police have issued a Section 35 dispersal order in central Richmond this weekend in response to what they said were “large” gatherings of young people recently.

In a short statement posted to Twitter, a spokesperson for Richmond Met Police said that the order, which gives police heightened powers to disperse groups, would last from “now” i.e. Friday evening until Sunday at 6.45pm.

“#Section35 in place | #Richmond Due to large gatherings of youths in the pictured area, a section 35 dispersal order is in place for the entire weekend.

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“This runs from now until 6.45pm on Sunday,” the spokesperson said.

The area referenced by police was highlighted in an accompanying map published on Twitter.

It showed that key areas of Richmond including the station, Richmond Green, Terrace Gardens and the nearby bank of the Thames would all be under the order until it is lifted on Sunday.

While restrictions on gatherings of up to six people outdoors have been lifted with the fall in coronavirus infection rates recently, meeting up in groups any larger than that outside is still forbidden at present.

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Section 35 orders derive from the 2014 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

It grants police heightened, temporary powers to disperse and people, and confiscate items from those gathering in certain areas.

Dispersal orders in the UK like Section 35s have been criticised by NGOs for their reported negative impact on communities related to a heightened risk of harassment and intimidation at the hands of the police.

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