Dispersal Zone for Aberdeen City Centre

Published 31 May 2019

A Dispersal Zone is being set up for Aberdeen City Centre to help tackle antisocial behaviour and disorder.

Using legislation set out by the Scottish Government under the Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 police have a Power of Dispersal within a designated zone.

This means that they can instruct any people in groups of two or more who are congregating and are likely to cause distress to members of the public through antisocial behaviour to leave the zone and not return within 24 hours. Those who do not comply or who seek to return to the area outlined can risk being arrested.

The designated area (see below PDF map) includes the main city centre thoroughfare including Union Street, Bon Accord Centre and Union Square Shopping Centres, Union Terrace and Market Street. (Please see map for details.)

The decision has been taken following a rise in the number of calls to police in relation to antisocial behaviour, vandalism and assault by young people in the last few weeks in the City Centre area.

As required under the legislation guidelines Police Scotland has consulted the local authority, Aberdeen City Council.

Officers have also liaised with businesses, organisations, elected representatives and community council members.

The Dispersal Zone will be brought into effect over the weekend, Friday, 31 May - Sunday, 2 June, and it is anticipated it will run until the end of August. It will be in place every day between 12pm and 12am.

Community Policing Team Inspector Vicky Stables said, “Our communities are vitally important to us and members of the public should be able to enjoy what the vibrant City Centre has to offer without the impact of antisocial behaviour.

"In the last few weeks we have seen a number of young people from across the North East in addition to those from Aberdeen congregating in the City Centre and some have been choosing to engage in antisocial behaviour.

“We have also seen incidents of a serious nature including an alleged attempted murder which three people have been charged with.

“A number of interventions are ongoing with partners and parents however we are looking to develop a proportionate sustainable solution to prevent a problem from developing.

“The powers contained in the dispersal provisions are not intended to be used as a first resort or in isolation. Rather they are intended for use as part of a package of measures agreed with partner agencies. The power of dispersal will only be used if it is believed that the presence or behaviour of groups has distressed members of the public. It is for the small minority who are intent on causing harm and distress to members of the public. We know the vast majority of people coming to Aberdeen City Centre are doing so peacefully and this measure is just one that we can use to help protect the public from antisocial behaviour.

“We have consulted on the dispersal zone with our stakeholders and the feedback we have received has been positive. We are now in the process of informing the public.

“Previously we have seen dispersal orders work successfully in other areas of the city and elsewhere in the country and it is hoped that this will have a positive impact on those who live, work and visit the City Centre.”

Aberdeen City Council Public Protection committee convener Councillor Jennifer Stewart said, “Our city centre is vibrant and safe which is recognised through our Purple Flag award, and the area is one we can all be proud of.

“A small number of people have been responsible for antisocial and offending behaviour in recent months and we will always support robust action to help ensure the safety of all who live and visit our city centre. This order will help ensure all residents and visitors can enjoy their visit.”

Examples of diversionary activities

The Denis Law Streetsports initiative runs year round. All sessions are free of charge and everyone is welcome.

May 2019 onwards


  • STREETSPORT – Inchgarth Community Centre, Garthdee 16:30 – 17:30
  • STREETSPORT TENNIS – Inchgarth Community Centre, Garthdee 16:30 – 17:30
  • STREETSPORT – Cruyff Court, Catherine Street, City Centre 17:30 – 18:30 NEW
  • STREETSPORT FITNESS – Tullos School, Torry 19:30 – 20:30


  • STREETSPORT - Kingsford School, Mastrick 19:30 - 21:00 NEW


  • P6-S2 GIRLS’ ONLY SESSION, in partnership with Active Schools – Cruyff Court, Catherine Street, City Centre 16:30 – 17:30 (term-time only)
  • STREETSPORT – Tullos School, Torry 19:30 – 21:00
  • STREETSPORT – Kaimhill Astro, Garthdee 20:30 – 22:00


  • STREETSPORT – Cruyff Court, Catherine Street, City Centre 18:00 – 19:30
  • STREETSPORT TENNIS – Cruyff Court, Catherine Street, City Centre 18:00 – 19:30
  • STREETSPORT – Allan Douglas Park, Northfield 19:30 – 21:00
  • STREETSPORT - Garioch Sports Centre & Astro, Inverurie 19:30 – 21:00 NEW


  • STREETSPORT – Bill Burr Astro, Northfield 20:00 – 22:00


  • Monday - St Fitticks Park, Torry - 6-8pm 
  • Tuesday - Kingsford Primary School - 5.30-7.30pm 
  • Wednesday - Kincorth Circle Skate Park, Kincorth 5.30-7.30pm 
  • Thursday - Allan Douglas Park, Northfield 5.30pm-7.30pm

Contact Details

Call 101 for non-emergencies and general enquiries, in an emergency call 999. If you have information about a crime you can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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Your Community

Find out more about local policing issues in this area by visiting: Aberdeen North, Aberdeen South, North East

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