Review of town drinking laws

THE drinking laws in Boston town centre will be reviewed by councillors, but the town’s chief inspector insists the current rules are working,

Chief Inspector Paul Timmins supports the way the current Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) is enforced in Boston but said he would like to publicise police successes more and wants the current licensing laws to be reviewed.

Last week we revealed how the town’s top officer was questioned at a Boston Borough Council task and finish group meeting – the first public date in its inquiry into the social impact of immigration.

At the meeting Chief Inspector Timmins was quizzed about drinking in the town by members of the public.

Task group chairman Coun Paul Kenny urged residents with concerns about drinking problems to raise them at a meeting on May 10 at the Municipal Buildings.

The meeting, which starts at 6.30pm, will look at whether the current policy is working.

The DPPO allows police to confiscate alcohol off anyone seen drinking in the town centre who is behaving anti-socially.

At the last meeting residents asked if a bylaw banning drinking would be easier for police, removing the need for officers to judge if someone is behaving in an anti-social way.

Chief Insp Timmins said: “We get it right most of the time. I am not saying 100 per cent however. Having a bylaw would probably take the judgement out of it but on some occasions that bit of judgement can be more proactive than not.

“I think at the moment the DPPO is doing its job.”

Chief Insp Timmins says the force has been ‘slow’ to show its successes over drinking and revealed the force receives about 25 calls on breaches to the DPPO a month.

He said officers also use ‘dispersal orders’ to move on large groups – typically deploying four to five a night – to stop large gangs congregating.

The chief inspector also hit out at the licensing laws of the mid-2000s which paved the way for longer opening hours and mean there is not a defined closing time that police can zero in on for potential trouble.

He said it puts a ‘stretch and strain’ on all public services and added: “I wouldn’t say we had it perfect before but there’s got to be another look at it.”

The next task and finish group meeting looks at employment. It takes place at 6.30pm tonight (Wednesday) at the Municipal Buildings.