Officers activated a Section 34 dispersal order in a large part of the city centre after weeks of problems with young people.
The order gives police special powers to move people on from a designated area which has been plagued by nuisance and anti-social behaviour.
In total 15 youths were issued with direction to leave notices during the evening.
A quantity of alcohol was seized and one youth was detained on suspicion of drugs offences.
A further seven young people were taken home to their families.
The dispersal order was introduced at 6pm last night and will remain in force until 6pm on Sunday. Police chiefs say they will then review the situation and further orders could be issued if necessary.
A spokesperson for Preston Police said: "We have flooded the area with officers from our Neighbourhood Policing Team.
"The section 34 order allows officers to ask people to leave a certain area that we suspect are associated with committing ASB.
"This area has been plagued with reports of nuisance and antisocial behaviour over recent months.
"Officers will be out in force for the rest of the weekend."
Sgt Sarah Denson of Preston Neighbourhood Policing Team said: "Anti-social behaviour encompasses a wide range of offences and can involve harm to individuals, business owners, members of the wider community or to the environment.
"This behaviour can leave victims feeling harassed, alarmed or distressed.
"We understand that this can have a profound impact on our communities and how safe people feel in our neighbourhoods.
"We are dedicated and committed to providing the public with the best level of service possible and tackling this type of crime"
The area where the order covers is bounded by Ringway, Friargate, Church Street, Grimshaw Street, Queens Street and London Road (see map).