POLICE have been granted dispersal powers to ban trouble-makers from Clacton town centre following an increase in antisocial behaviour.

The dispersal order, which has been obtained following the agreement of Tendring Council, gives police enhanced powers to reduce antisocial behaviour problems in defined areas between 9am today and 9am on Saturday.

It comes after town centre traders suffered abuse from a group of up to 20 youths, who were meeting daily at the derelict yard behind the former Carlton Pub in Rosemary Road, which was reportedly also being used by drunks and drug addicts.

Police also reported that five police officers have been assaulted in five days, including a female officer suffering serious injuries after being slashed in the face with garden shears following a "large disturbance" in Jackson Road on Tuesday night.

Insp Pete Gerard, of Clacton Community Policing Team, said: “We are aware that there has been a rise in incidents in the Clacton town centre area and have listened to people’s concerns.

“The actions of a few are clearly affecting the ability for everyone to enjoy their community. This order will enable officers to react to those incidents and take action to stop anti-social behaviour.

“The use of this legislation may seem quite strong and in essence the order does permit officers to exclude persons from an area, the decision to implement this order is not taken lightly. However, faced with the reports we have received, this is a proportionate response.

"I am confident the order and increased policing over the next two days will quell some of the anti-social behaviour and we can build on the activity with some longer term action against identified offenders.”

The order covers Jackson Road, Rosemary Road, The Grove, Alexandra Road, Station Road, Carnarvon Road, Marine Parade East and West, including the lower promenade, Edith Road and all roads within the area defined by those roads.

The order gives officers the power to order anyone to leave the area for 48 hours if they have reasonable grounds to believe a person is committing or like to commit anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder.

Officers can also confiscate any item that could be used to commit anti-social behaviour, crime or disorder or give a person under the age of 16 direction to leave with police taking them home or to a place of safety.