Councillors finally voted to bring in an outright ban on street drinking in Boston – despite concerns being voiced over police funding cuts.
At last week’s full council meeting, Boston borough councillors voted in favour of the ban for the town centre – making it one of the first areas in the country to do so.
However, some councillors voiced concerns at last Monday’s meeting about whether local police could enforce the ban given recent news about the county’s police – with the Chief Constable last week airing ‘grave concern’ to Theresa May if more cuts come.
Coun Richard Leggott said he was concerned Lincolnshire Police would lose ‘bobbies on the beat’ and would struggle to enforce the ban.
Coun Paul Gleeson said: “We need to put the police to the test and see if they will enforce this legislation to the satisfaction of Boston people. In the end we may as a council have to go some way towards policing it ourselves.”
Coun David Witts said: “Whilst I have some issues about police funding, all we can do is give them the tools to get the job done.”
Describing it as a ‘positive move’ to address the problem, council leader Peter Bedford concluded: “At long last we have an order in place that gives the police powers to do something about this issue.”
New signs will go up at the entrance points to the designated area, warning of the ban, and how people can report those breaking it.
The decision follows two rounds of public consultation which revealed overwhelming support for the introduction of the new public space protection order (PSPO).
Anyone found drinking alcohol in the designated area will be arrested if they don’t stop or surrender the drink when requested to do so by police or a council officer.
Coun Stephen Woodliffe brought up a personal example of the issue at the meeting: “I was walking through the Market Place and there were three men sitting near the Five Lamps drinking alcohol, making noise and spitting.
“I find this sort of behaviour threatening and that’s something we want to stop.”
Coun Woodliffe added banning street drinking will ‘send a clear message’ that it will ‘no longer be tolerated’ in Boston.
The PSPO will replace the current DPPO – which only gives police powers to move street drinkers on if they are, or are likely to, engage in anti-social behaviour.