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Last Updated: Monday, 19 June 2006, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
McConnell sees church ban impact
Chief Constable David Strang and First Minister Jack McConnell
Chief Constable David Strang spoke to the first minister during his visit
The first minister has seen the impact of a dispersal order to reduce antisocial behaviour in a church yard.

Jack McConnell was at St Michael's Church in Dumfries where he heard from police about the successful scheme to fight vandalism and other problems.

The order allows police to move people on and arrest and prosecute anyone who fails to comply with such requests.

Mr McConnell said he was impressed by the scheme and suggested other areas should consider taking similar action.

"Tackling antisocial behaviour is about tackling the roots of all the other problems relating to crime," he said.

"More people elsewhere in Scotland need to take up these orders," he added.

The order was introduced following a spate of vandal attacks in the churchyard which houses the Burns mausoleum.

The visit by the first minister was welcomed by Dumfries' Labour MSP Dr Elaine Murray.

She also praised Dumfries and Galloway Police for their prompt use of new legislation to tackle the vandalism at St Michael's.

Jack McConnell in Dumfries
Jack McConnell heard from police about the dispersal order

"Of the six dispersal orders which have been issued in Scotland since the legislation was enacted, two have been in Dumfries and Galloway," she said.

"The police are now considering using these new powers to act against the nuisance and litter being caused by drunks congregating at the toilets on the Whitesands.

"The use being made of this legislation by our police force is a good example to other police forces and demonstrates that the provisions in the recent legislation are making a real difference to communities.

"I am proud that the first minister chose to see for himself how it is making a difference to my constituents."

Earlier in the day the first minister met pupils and teachers at St Joseph's College which was holding its annual sports day and also heard about anti-bullying initiatives at the school.

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