It is thought to be the first time that a curfew has been imposed on an entire city centre and led to accusations that police and the local council were confusing North Wales with North Korea.
The Children’s Commissioner for Wales dismissed the move, in Bangor, as heavy handed and drastic and warned it would “criminalise” all children and young people. But the authorities insisted the measure was necessary to combat anti-social behaviour and public drinking in the area, which has a large student population.
The ban comes despite claims by police this year that violent crime had fallen by almost a quarter in the city after a previous measure which led to 110 individuals being banned from entering the area.
North Wales police and Gwynedd county council have gone further and imposed a dispersal order banning anyone under 16 entering the city centre from 9pm to 6am without their parents.
Those caught in the forbidden zone during the next six months could be fined £2,500 or jailed for up to three months.