Police dealt with 20 street drinkers in a weekend blitz in Spalding.
It was one of the busiest weekends so far in Operation Trunk – and sparked a flurry of support on Twitter after one disgruntled Tweeter asked police if they had nothing better to do.
Back came almost 20 Tweets with messages such as “keep up the good work”, “please please do not stop targeting the drinkers” and “I think you are having an effect on street drinking, Spalding so much better to walk around now because of your good work”.
Police tackled 75 street drinkers in April, 50 in May and 35 so far this month.
Community policing inspector Jim Tyner said police now receive far fewer calls from the public about street drinking, but that suggests police are succeeding and the street drinkers are having less impact on people going about their normal business.
He said: “I was recently told that market traders are returning to Spalding Market since Operation Trunk has cleared the shopping areas of drinkers. That sounds like success to me.”
Insp Tyner said people are still drinking in the town centre, but they tend to have moved out of the view of the public.
“Street drinking is a complex social issue with no quick wins,” he said.
Leading Spalding councillor Roger Gambba-Jones was among Tweeters backing the police blitz on street drinkers.
After one follower messaged police to ask if they had nothing better to do Coun Gambba-Jones sent a message: “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Keep up your good work pls, it’s what the vast majority of ppl want 2C.”
Another Tweeter applauded police both for their action on street drinkers and communication with the public on Twitter.
Insp Tyner said: “I am a great supporter of police use of social media.
“Effective engagement with all parts of the community is at the heart of community policing.
“Using social media offers a different way of engaging with people in our communities who may not normally come into contact with police officers or PCSOs.
“My favourite Tweet is from a member of the public who said ‘you and your PCSOs are changing Spalding and Twitter gets the message out there’.”
Insp Tyner said at least three of the new CCTV volunteers came forward as a result of a police appeal on Twitter.
One of Saturday’s police messages on Operation Trunk told followers: “Seized another bottle of whiskey and a can of lager. Four more people moved on, that makes 13 today.”
Police have only limited powers to deal with street drinkers under a Designated Public Places Order.
It’s not an offence to drink alcohol in the area, but police can ask them to stop drinking and pour away their booze.
Anyone who fails to comply without a reasonable excuse can be served with a fixed penalty notice or a fine up to £500.