I understand a new scheme aimed at cracking down on street drinking and other anti-social behaviours in Spalding town centre has been launched.
A Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) has been set up by South Holland District Council and I have seen recent reports that these areas cover St Thomas’ Road north to West Elloe Avenue and from the railway station east to Commercial Road.
I fully understand that the new law does not allow for a complete ban on drinking alcohol in a public place, but the offence is actually for failing to comply with an officer’s request to stop drinking within a PSPO area.
Recently Malcolm Chandler, deputy leader of South Holland District Council, has stated in a report: “Whilst it is pleasing to hear that reported incidents of anti-social behaviour are reducing in Spalding, we accept there are still incidents occurring and there remains a public perception of street drinking, which we want to change.”
Also, Inspector Jo Reeves, community policing inspector for South Holland, also believes we are now experiencing low levels of street drinking, but the volumes of litter I came across would paint a very different picture.
I really do think the authorities are hiding behind this so-called public perception. I walk around my town, your town very often, and I came across a large amount of litter in St Thomas’ Road and off the footbridge in St John’s Road.
My camera does not know the meaning of the word perception, and pictures do not lie; the litter I found on Sunday afternoon is clearly the aftermath of street drinking.
So what is the answer here? See Something, Say Something, Sort it. But it also needs policing, and enforcing when the law has been broken. But along with the cuts to funding and the lack of resources this problem will not get any better.
Finally, the bad news is that government funding is reducing rapidly. As far as the county council is concerned their revenue support grant funding is being slashed from £70million in 2016-17 to £20million in 2019-20. There will be further impact, with the district council needing to cut even deeper.
So if the council turn off every street light in town and the surrounding area there will still be a bigger financial black hole to face in 2020.