New street drinking rules start to take action

New street drinking rules start to take action

Alcohol has been seized 14 times in the first five weeks of new powers being launched to tackle street drinking issues in Wisbech.

The amount of alcohol-related litter in the town’s St Peter’s Church Gardens has also been halved ever since Fenland District Council introduced the new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) on October 20.

The figures come as an initial period of education to make people aware of the new rules comes to an end, and enforcement begins. Anyone caught breaching the PSPO from Monday, December 4, could be issued with a £75 Fixed Penalty Notice.

The order restricts alcohol consumption in three street drinking hotspots – Tillery Fields, St Peter’s Church Gardens and the memorial garden in The Crescent – and enables authorised police and council officers to address alcohol-related antisocial behaviour across a wider area covering Wisbech town centre.

Officers have been carrying out extra patrols and engaging with individuals to warn them about the new powers, and also signpost dependent drinkers and vulnerable residents to support and help available to them through the Wisbech Alcohol Partnership.

In the first five weeks of the order coming into force, officers confiscated and disposed of alcohol from the three locations on 14 occasions.

Early observations from the Council’s environmental services staff also indicated a significant reduction in the amount of alcohol-related litter collected from St Peter’s Church gardens, estimated to be around 50%.

Councillor David Oliver, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member for community safety, said: “We had an initial period of education to let people know that the PSPO had been implemented, and how it would impact on their behaviour, and we are really pleased with the effect of the new powers so far.

“From Monday, December 4, we will begin enforcing the order; with officers having the option of issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice to anyone caught breaching the new rules.

“We will continue to offer help and support via a number of agencies to those who need it, however, we will take action against the small minority who continue to behave in an anti-social manner. We will also monitor the order to ensure the problem is not dispersed elsewhere. It’s a great start though and shows what we can do when we all work together.”