Street drinkers in Spalding could be hit with fines of up to £1,000 under new powers being considered by council leaders.
New laws which could see people ordered to stop drinking and hand over their alcohol in Spalding town centre or face possible court action has moved a step closer after a South Holland District Council cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
There still remains a perception of street drinking within the town that appears at odds with the realityChief Superintendent Shaun West, Lincolnshire Police
Cabinet members backed plans to replace an existing Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) in the town with a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) which the Government introduced in October 2014.
If it is also backed at a full council meeting next month, the PSPO would apply to areas such as The Vista and the Coronation Channel between Spalding town centre and Springfields Outlet Shopping.
A report prepared for Tuesday’s meeting said: “The main concern that the PSPO would address is the consumption of alcohol.
“The number of calls for service, complaints and interventions has reduced, however, concerns continue to be raised by local residents.”
The report stated Lincolnshire Police figures which showed that in the last year, 79 incidents of drunken behaviour and 29 of street drinking had been reported, about two per week.
In contrast, a series of “static patrols” by PCSOs in Spalding’s Gore Lane area during June resulted in just one street drinker being found, compared to 86 in June 2013.
A report to Spalding Town Forum members by Inspector Jo Reeves, community policing inspector for South Holland, said: “Anti-social behaviour (ASB) always features at the forefront of people’s minds but reported ASB is down in South Holland.
“In relation to street drinking specifically, there have been 34 incidents of drunken behaviour reported in the Spalding area between April 1 and September 21 - eight in April, nine in May, seven in June, eight in July and two in August.
“Drunken behaviour does not normally equate to street drinking but it can also be drunken people outside a nightclub, at a house or pub to which police have been called.”
The district council sought views on the PSPO from Chief Superintendent Shaun West of Lincolnshire Police who said: “The existing DPPO has had a significant amount of success in Spalding and alcohol-related ASB has declined considerably.
“There still remains a perception of street drinking within the town that appears at odds with the reality and it must be considered whether the introduction of a PSPO, focusing on alcohol-related issues, would have a negative impact on our community and feed into that perception,
“Equally, we must also consider how we manage perception as much as reality.”