POLICE patrolling a Hampshire neighbourhood hit by anti-social behaviour have been handed the power to order a person to leave the area for 48 hours.

Hampshire police chiefs have authorised the use of a Section 35 Dispersal Order, which came into force in Old Portsmouth at midday today and will be used until midday on Friday.

Police have also stepped up patrols in the area.

A police spokesperson said: "A map outlines the area where the dispersal order will be in place, which includes Southsea Common where we have had a reports of groups of young people congregating and causing anti-social behaviour.

Daily Echo:

"Last night we arrested a 17-year-old boy for possession of an offensive weapon in a public place after we deployed to the Common in response to reports of groups of young people fighting.

"The boy remains in police custody today and enquiries are ongoing.

"You will know that we have implemented dedicated daily patrols to Southsea Common and seafront in recent weeks. Today we are adding extra patrols to that plan in order to reduce anti-social behaviour and related crime.

"We are going to continue these patrols over the coming days and increase our presence in order to deter groups from congregating and prevent further disorder.

"In addition to this, and in anticipation of the hot weather, we are also going to increase our presence at the Hot Walls.

"Southsea Common, the Hot Walls and surrounding areas will also be subject to the Dispersal Order.

"We know these areas are also used by families, local residents and people visiting Portsmouth during the good weather. It is paramount these areas are kept safe for people to enjoy.

"The groups that have been congregating in these areas are mainly young people and therefore we would ask parents and guardians to consider the whereabouts of their own children and whether they are involved in such anti-social behaviour, either knowingly or unwittingly.

"Dispersal Orders are made under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (Section 34) and it means that we have the power to order a person to leave the area for a 48 hour period with no return.

"Refusal to comply with the order is a criminal offence."