WORKING with communities and young people is key to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour following a dispersal order in Horwich, say police.

A police order was made banning people gathering in the town from Friday, April 30 to Sunday, May 2, following a spate of disorder reports.

There were concerns youths would gather outside Horwich following the announcement but police say there were no “significant issues of displacement”.

And officers believe it is “vitally important to work with communities and young people” rather than just using enforcement.

Insp David Johnston (Bolton West), acknowledged there had been some criticisms of the order/

But he said: “I feel it is vitally important to work with communities and young people as opposed to simply using enforcement.

“The main priority for policing is to prevent anti-social behaviour (ASB) or crime in the first instance as opposed to responding to it when it is happening or after the fact.

“There will of course always be some displacement of the problem but I work with other area inspectors in Bolton and Lancashire Police to mitigate this wherever possible. We have not seen any significant issues of displacement as a result.”

As well as the dispersal order in Horwich, police have also increased patrols in Westhoughton after large groups were spotted gathering in parks. Police have been working to boost youth provision in the area too.

Insp Johnston said: “WithWesthoughton, we have seen large groups gathering in the parks and have built this in to our patrol plan.

“Youth provision has been in the area and also reported encountering large groups of teenagers and therefore our ongoing work will reflect this and we look at ways of reducing any ASB for the community.

“Enforcement alone is not the long term solution for dealing with such problems and it requires a collective effort from other services to provide opportunities for these children to engage in positive activities and for their parents to know what their children are doing and to encourage them to behave responsibly.”