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Calls for street drinking ban to help reduce antisocial behaviour

By Somerset Guardian  |  Posted: September 08, 2012

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Calls have been made for Bath and North East Somerset Council to support a street drinking ban in Midsomer Norton town centre.

The proposal, for what is formally known as a Designated Public Place Order, has been put forward by the town council and would enable police to take alcohol from anyone who is drinking in the designated areas.

The police, who would be responsible for enforcing the law, have already indicated their support for the plan.

Bath and North East Somerset councillor and Conservative shadow cabinet member for neighbourhoods Michael Evans (Midsomer Norton North) has called on the Liberal Democrat cabinet to give its support to the idea.

Mr Evans has tabled a question, to be answered at the cabinet's next public meeting on September 12, asking for councillors to commit to providing the necessary officer support to enable the town council to make the order.

The town council voted on August 6 in favour of a Designated Public Place Order.

The same order is already in force in Bath city centre and numerous other towns and cities across the country where police have the power to confiscate alcohol from street drinkers.

Mr Evans suggested that the order would be discretional and that it would not criminalise those who were enjoying a drink but not causing a problem.

It would also not outlaw all alcohol consumption in the area and those parts already licensed, such as tables outside pubs, would be excluded.

He added that there is public support for the order shown by results of a survey carried out by the town council earlier in the year in support of the Community Alcohol Partnership in Midsomer Norton, which was launched in July.

Mr Evans said: "The creation of a no street drinking zone in Midsomer Norton would give police greater powers to tackle alcohol-related antisocial behaviour.

"It is something which has the backing of the town council, police and residents.

"Police would be unlikely to approach those consuming alcohol in a peaceable and unthreatening way, but it would give them the power to confiscate alcohol from those causing a problem.

"Now we want B&NES to throw its weight behind the plan and implement the necessary Public Place Order.

"Conservatives are therefore calling on the B&NES Lib Dem cabinet member to commit to providing the officer support necessary for this order to be made."

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