Home Office estimates show that between January 2004 and April 2006 over 1,000 areas were designated dispersal zones in England and Wales.
The 2003 Act also created a power to move on or send home any young person under 16 not accompanied by an adult who is out on the streets in a dispersal zone between 9pm and 6am. The police can use these powers even if they have no reason to believe that the young person in question is actually involved in or is likely to be involved in anti-social behaviour.
Our objections to youth curfews
In 2005 Liberty lawyers acted for 'W', a 15-year-old boy from Richmond who successfully challenged the legality of curfews for under-16s. The following year the Court of Appeal dealt a severe blow to curfew powers when it ruled that the police only have the power to use force to remove children who are involved in, or at risk from, actual or imminently anticipated bad behaviour.