Police are vowing to have a major clamp down on street boozing – and say a pilot operation to tackle the issue is already getting results.
Officers began to step up patrols in hotspots around Boston town centre last week – and in the first seven days they dealt with a total of 36 people.
Insp Dave Rimmer said he hoped the figures would decline, but some people fear it will have no impact on the problem, which many believe blights the town.
Insp Rimmer told The Standard: “We are not burying our heads in the sand. We know there is an issue and we are trying to deal with it.”
In the first week someone was arrested for drunk and disorderly behaviour, four people were given advice to clean up their act, 14 people were moved on, 12 had alcohol confiscated, three were given notices to stay out of the area and three people were sent letters.
“The levels are what we would expect, and I am hoping they will start to drop,” the inspector said, adding: “It’s about education, and making them (the drinkers) realise how they look to others.”
Insp Rimmer admitted that he did not think Boston had a bigger problem with street drinking than most other market towns of a similar size, but that it was a big issue because of the way people perceived the problem and reacted to it.
He said: “If people see people sitting drinking it is unacceptable to some people, but not as far as the law is concerned.
“However, there are people in these groups that when they get drunk they can act in a disorderly manner, which is unacceptable.”
But staff in nearby shops refuted the fact there was not a big problem, with a staff member in one Market Place shop saying drunk people regularly came into the premises. One person who was particularly inebriated even urinated on a stool when staff offered it to him to sit down
She added: “It’s good that the police are aware of it and trying to do something about it, but unless they are there babysitting them 24/7 it’s not going to work.”
The owner of another business in the Market Place said: “I think they should fine them or something. The police should be here all the time.
“It doesn’t look good when the tourists come and people see people sitting and drinking and shouting and screaming.”
The two month initiative is currently being focused on the town centre but Insp Rimmer said it will be extended outside the area over time.