Police praised by traders for fall in street drinking

Traders report a fall in street drinking, contrary to results of a survey.
Traders report a fall in street drinking, contrary to results of a survey.
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Traders in Spalding are backing local police after a snapshot survey claimed 66 per cent of residents polled did not think street drinking had reduced since last year.

Insp Jim Tyner, who ran the survey on Twitter which was limited to 100 people, said he was disappointed with the response.

He said: “I have to take note of this, but it is at odds with what I hear when I talk to traders in town.”

Concern about street drinkers in Spalding was highlighted in summer 2012, just before Ins Tyner became community policing inspector, when the Free Press launched its ‘We’ve Had Enough Campaign’ after complaints about anti-social behaviour in the town.

Ins Tyner said: “This reflected the strength of local feeling about drinkers and associated anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

“Together with South Holland District Council and other agencies and charities we have been working hard to reduce the amount of street drinking. But this is a national problem, and not restricted to South Holland.

”Most of the feedback I get is positive and people tell me they have noticed a difference in the town centre.

“I carried out a rather unsophisticated snapshot survey on Twitter to gauge people’s experiences.

“I was disappointed that 66 per cent of those that voted did not think that street drinking had reduced since last year.

“We have fewer calls from members of the public compared to last year and our patrols are finding fewer drinkers. For example in May 2012 we dealt with 85 street drinkers, in May 2013 we dealt with 31 and in May 2014 we dealt with 26. I don’t think for one minute that we have eradicated street drinking, but I had hoped that people had noticed an improvement.

“Most disappointing of all is the fact that 65 per cent of those that voted do not have confidence that we are dealing with anti-social behaviour linked to street drinking.

“This is an unfair reflection on the hard work by my officers and many other agencies and charities who are tackling street drinkers on a daily basis.

“Every officer at Spalding knows my expectations and 
patrols are carried out every day.”

Nikki Austin, who runs Austin John Interiors in The Crescent, said she had seen a huge reduction in street drinking since she first opened her business three years ago.

She said: “When I first opened my shop I would arrive at 7am and there would be drinkers outside.

“Now there’s a massive difference. I can’t praise the police force enough. Now, if there is any trouble, they are straight on it.

“Last week a PCSO came round and asked if everything was OK. They are brilliant.”

Gavin Allmand, director of Hill’s Department Store which is close to the market place, said: “Generally we have noticed there has been a reduction of street drinkers within the trading areas of the town, but there are still places where it is still prevalent.”

Other results of the survey stated 80 per cent say people should not be allowed to drink in public; 60 per cent feel affected by street drinking and 35 per cent of people would not call police if they saw ASB linked to street drinking.

Ins Tyner said: “I am frustrated that 35 per cent of those that voted wouldn’t call the police if they saw ASB linked to street-drinking.

“Every call is logged on our computer system and I need that statistical evidence to plan ahead and to get extra resources.”

He said: “In the 2013-2014 year we dealt with 360 street drinkers. Although calls from the public about street drinking have significantly reduced, we are still targeting this.”

To report anti-social behaviour, call police on 101.