A HORWICH councillor has called for a long-term solution to be found as another dispersal order was enforced in the town over the weekend.

Police authorised the order for the whole of Horwich in response to incidents of anti-social behaviour.

It was the second time such an order has been put in place across the town this month, with an order previously enforced during the first weekend of May.

The order allowed officers to direct a person to leave the area specified within the order if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that their behaviour has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to members of the public.

Cllr Kevin McKeon (Horwich North East) praised the short-term effectiveness of the dispersal order at curbing incidents of anti-social behaviour, but warned that it is only a temporary solution.

He said: “I think that the dispersal order is immediately effective in that the presence of the police means youngsters stay off the streets.

“As a short-term response, the order does work, but we need to look at what we can do in the long term.

“I have suggested that we need to get more youth workers on the streets and we need to provide more activities for youngsters.

“Obviously Covid has prevented youth centres from opening, but we have had discussions with the borough council and Horwich Town Council about working with the youth service, and we will use funds from the town centre and area funds for these activities.

“I think lockdown has played a key part in this behaviour, it’s actually younger teenagers aged 12 and 13 who’ve been involved, not so much the older children.

“Obviously it’s always a minority of kids which cause trouble but we need to work with them to solve the problem.

“It’s a complex issue and not one with a simple solution, the dispersal order works in the short term but it won’t solve it.

“It’s a reactive measure – if we had no more issues we wouldn’t need anymore dispersal orders.

“This is why the youth workers can be really helpful.

"They can talk to these kids and identifying the underlying causes leading to this behaviour.”

Previously Inspector David Johnston, who covers the Bolton West policing area, said that working with communities is key to reducing anti-social behaviour.

He said: “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.”

Police also enforced a similar order across Westhoughton last March.