In an attempt to curb anti-social behaviour the Welsh town of Bangor is banning lone children from the city centre from June 18. The ban will apply from 9pm to 6am to any child under 16 not accompanied by an adult.
The ban is intended to prevent groups of youngsters drinking and harassing the public, following a rise in complaints regarding such anti-social behaviour. The decision to introduce a six month ban was reached by Gwynedd County Council and North Wales Police.
The BBC reported the dispersal order states: "If you are under 16 you are not allowed to be here between the hours of 9pm and 6am unless you are under the effective control of a parent or responsible person over the age of 18. You may be removed to your home or place of safety if more appropriate."Flouting the ban could result in three months imprisonment and / or a fine of up to £2,500, according to Wales Online. Police inspector Simon Barrasford defended the controversial move, saying "Many people are working very hard to improve and regenerate the city centre as well as just wanting to enjoy their daily lives without being intimidated or harassed and I have no doubt dispersal orders areas will assist in that endeavour.
Drinking in public has an adverse effect not only on visitors’ perception but also on the quality of life of residents. Working closely with our partners in the local authorities I’m confident that we can have a positive impact on the area.”
The ban has been widely criticized, with the Telegraph reporting the Children’s Commissioner for Wales warning it would criminalise children. Nick Pickles of Big Brother Watch called the law draconian, suggesting Welsh authorities had confused the town with North Korea.