THE impact of new police powers to control gangs was discussed at a meeting of Bromyard Town Council this week.

PC Steve Morrell said 20 people had been cautioned under the rules, which came into force on May 1 and allow police to break up groups intimidating the public.

"A lot of incidents that we go to don't relate to criminal offences and it's good to have the power to move people," he said.

The powers apply to designated area of the town centre where problems have been reported with youngsters gathering, shouting abuse and even spitting at people. The police can also order home under-16s who are behaving badly between 9pm and 6am.

At Monday's meeting, Coun Pearl Briggs said: "I think the kids understand what's going on. Some are obviously quite scared about it and will move on but others will tempt providence."

Coun Peter Dauncey said he was concerned that trouble-making youngsters had simply moved to Sherford Street, where he claimed they had broken into two dangerous, derelict buildings.

PC Morrell said this was a matter of criminal damage and that the extent of the power may be reconsidered when the trial period ends in July.