Street drinking protection order is set to continue unchanged for next three years

A sign declaring alcohol to be 'prohibited' in the town centre.
A sign declaring alcohol to be 'prohibited' in the town centre.

The Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) put in place to tackle street drinking in Boston town centre is set to be extended, unchanged, for the next three years – with councillors reiterating that it is not a ban on the issue.

Boston Borough Council’s cabinet discussed the PSPO this morning (Wednesday) where they were told that since the order came into force in on January 12, 2015, 786 individuals have been dealt through the ‘tiered approach’ to street drinking - with 82 of those being repeat drinkers.

Under the order it is not an offence to drink on the street, but it is an offence to fail to hand over alcohol when requested to do so by an ‘authorised officer’.

Councillors were told by community safety manager Peter Hunn that every person spoken to by police had complied with instructions.

They were told that they could only extend the PSPO for a further three years and any variation to the order would require full public consultation.

Mr Hunn said: “A PSPO can be extended for three further years without consultation if it is to remain exactly the same as the original order which was granted.”

A report before the council showed that from January 2015 until March of this year, showed that no-one breached the PSPO itself by failing to hand over alcohol.

However, through being dealt with on multiple occasions or for other incidents 764 of those whose details had been taken had faced further action, with 682 receiving advice, 21 getting further anti-social behaviour actions taken against them, 33 given an official PSPO warning, 18 recieving a community protection warning, five a community protection notice and five people being taken to court - all of those successfully convicted.

Cabinet members voted unanimously for the order to continue.

Councillors were given alternative options to cancel the order completely, or undertake a further full public consultation to consider any variation to the current order before it expires on January 12, 2018.

The report stated that the options were not recommended because behaviour was still occurring mostly within the controlled area and that ‘no significant displacement of identified activities through reported police incidents and enforcement work of the council’s community safety team’.

Councillors at the meeting looked to clear confusion that the PSPO is not a ban.

Coun Paul Skinner said: “It’s not a street drinking ban, members of the public have still got a responsibility if they see something to dial 101 and report it.

“Everything is driven by data in this day and age.”

Signs around the town say street drinking is ‘Prohibited’.

Coun Mike Brookes said he was confident the PSPO had reduced incidents of street drinking.

“The numbers suggest that’s the case since this was introduced and so that in itself is an argument for the order to continue. I’m absolutely confident that if we did not have this, things would be a lot worse than they are at the minute.”

Last week, Community Beat Insp Andy Morrice said reports of street drinking to the police had ‘halved’.

For a two-page feature on Insp Morrice’s comments see today’s (Wednesday, September 6) Boston Standard, or for the original story from the BTAC meeting visit www.bostonstandard.co.uk.