At Liverpool’s waterfront, there’s diving, disputes, and dispersion orders.


At Liverpool’s waterfront, there’s diving, disputes, and dispersion orders.

Liverpool’s waterfront is a unique location.

The skyline is famous, the views are breathtaking, and we can all agree that it is a one-of-a-kind and beautiful environment, whether or not it is designated as a world heritage site.

The coastline naturally draws people, and enormous crowds – many of them young – have gathered around the Pier Head, Mann Island, and other waterfront places throughout the recent warm weather.

Over a docks dispute, a pub issues a ‘dispersal order’ on a municipal councilman.

After Merseyside Police issued several dispersal orders in response to accusations of anti-social behavior, a discussion has erupted in the city about how things should be regulated around the waterfront.

Like most disagreements, this one has multiple dimensions, with some focusing on young kids plunging into the ocean at Mann Island while others disagreeing about reported antisocial behavior.

Merseyside Police stepped up their patrols around the waterfront this weekend, enacting the Section 60 Act after two teenage boys were stabbed at Keel Wharf after a disturbance involving as many as 100 young people.

This law gives cops the authority to search people in a certain location – in this example, the waterfront and a large portion of the city center – at a specific time if they fear serious violence is imminent.

The Section 60 Act comes after a series of dispersal orders were issued in recent weeks around the waterfront region, giving police the authority to take individuals out of a designated area for 48 hours.

The deployment of these police powers in the vicinity of Liverpool’s renowned docks has created a heated debate about how the matter should be handled, with several alternative strands.

Clearly, violent acts are a source of concern. A teenager was beaten near the Big Wheel at Kings Dock just a few days before the stabbing on Friday night.

For some, however, the use of such orders on a regular basis is a blunt instrument that risks criminalizing all young people, some of whom simply want to hang out in one of their city’s most pleasurable areas.

Young people have been diving into the water at the Mann Island Canal Basin during the hot weather. “The summary has come to an end.”


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