Police to gain extended powers over public drinking

Photo: Francesca Waite

Plans to trial extended police powers controlling drinking in the streets of Lewisham have been given the go-ahead by Lewisham Mayor Sir Steve Bullock.

The  measures will give police discretionary powers to stop people and confiscate, demand and dispose of any alcohol within the boundaries of Lewisham borough. A public consultation has now been launched, which is a legal requirement before the scheme can be introduced.

There are currenly two drinking control zones in Lewisham: The Lewisham Drinking Control Zone which extends along Lewisham High Street from Lewisham Central to Catford, and Upper Brockley Road Drinking Control Zone – implemented in April 2008.

The order, known as a Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) would extend the police powers throughout Lewisham. The order is a measure that can assist in tackling problematic street drinking linked to anti-social behaviour. Police and the council say the intention of the DPPO is to provide police with a tool to address alcohol-related disorder, not to ban public drinking.

Failure to comply with a request from the police to hand over alcohol could result in an arrest and/or a fine of up to £500.

The DPPO would be reviewed following a 6-month trial period.

Sir Steve said: “The difficult issue of anti-social behaviour brought about by street drinking needs to be tackled and the implementation of a pilot borough-wide DPPO will enable us to review its effectiveness and look at our options, once the results have been analysed at the end of the pilot.”

Borough Commander, Detective Chief Superintendent Jeremy Burton, said: “The use of this power is not directed at stopping people drinking responsibly in public; it is a further tactic in our drive to reduce anti-social behaviour associated with alcohol abuse and misuse. We will continue to work with Lewisham Council and our communities in combating alcohol related disorder and I look forward to the results of this pilot.”

To take part in the consultation go to www.lewisham.gov.uk and click on the ‘Check our active consultations’ and then ‘Lewisham Designated Public Place Order’.

Comments can be emailed to communitysafety@lewisham.gov.uk

The consultation ends on 27 August.

To see the full announcement from the council, go to the Brockley Central blog:

http://brockleycentral.blogspot.com/2010/08/public-drinking-public-consultation.html?showComment=1281622777839

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