Groups of anti-social yobs are being banned from the town centre for up to 48 hours following the introduction of a six-month dispersal order.
The order, which came into effect on Monday, allows police and PCSOs to ban groups of people from large sections of the town centre if they are causing a nuisance.
The dispersal order will be active in the Horsemarket area of Northampton until February 5, next year.
Northamptonshire Police, backed by Northampton Borough Council, sought the order to combat potential anti-social behaviour problems in some areas during the summer months.
However, police have stressed the move is a pre-emptive attempt to stop anti-social behaviour escalating, particularly if it involves alcohol.
The designated area includes the churchyards and roads around St Giles’ Church and Holy Sepulchre, as well as Gold Street and the area around Oasis House, the homeless hostel in The Mounts. The areas are being targeted as they are places where street drinkers frequently congregate.
Nine people became the first group to be banned from the area after causing problems in Ash Street, in The Mounts, at 11.15am, on Monday, just hours after the order came into place.
Meanwhile, 61 alcohol seizures have also been made as part of the crackdown.
The order gives police new powers to force troublemakers to “immediately leave the area” under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.
Under the relevant section of the act, officers can move people on if they have “reasonable grounds for believing that any members of the public have been intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed”.
Sergeant Simon Pinchin, town centre sergeant, said: “I don’t want people to think Northampton is a hotspot for anti-social behaviour. There have been incidents but what we are saying is we are not going to let things get worse. If we don’t have to use these powers then we will have won and I will be very happy.
“But this gives Pcs and PCSOs the power to disperse people if they do cause issues.”
He added: “We are trying to be proactive rather than let problems build up and then react to it. We have looked and the issues year-on-year and rather than wait for a spike we have brought in this power.”