‘Street drinking has halved’ in the town centre and authorities ‘are moving in the right direction’, Boston’s Community Beat Inspector has told councillors.
Insp Andy Morrice told a meeting of the Boston Town Area Committee last night (Wednesday) that between January 1 and August 30 this year, police have received 34 incidents of street drinking.
This is almost half of those received during the same period last year which was 60.
“To me that’s saying we’re moving in the right direction and we’re getting less reports.”
He said an issue with not getting through to a person on the 101 number was the same as last year and that the figures were ‘like-for-like’.
Mr Morrice added that at a recent engagement event, held in Boston Market Place on Tuesday, no officers had been questioned about street-drinking, despite ‘hundreds’ of people coming up and asking questions.
He said: “In Boston, hundreds of people came up and asked questions, what I will say is not a single person, not one, to any of the staff mentioned street drinking. They mentioned cycling on the pavement and a few other things but no-body mentioned street drinking.
“Again, I’m not saying it’s stopped - it hasn’t and there’s more work to be done but we’re moving in the right direction and I would still suggest we’ve got it out the town centre. It exists in the park and on the river banks and we’ve got that to focus on, but hopefully we’ll go from strength to strength.”
When questioned on whether CCTV was working with police he confirmed it was.
However, he again criticised people who were ‘taking photos and posting to social media’ but not reporting it to police.
He also reminded councillors there was no offence in street drinking itself and that the offence was failure to surrender alcohol - which means drinkers have to have a container with alcohol in when officers turned up.
There was also a suggestion of empowering and training park wardens to support police staff, who he acknowledged, due to staffing numbers can’t cover every area all the time.
He said: “One of the issues with the park is, we walk in one gate, they walk out one of the others with beer in their hand and we can’t, I don’t have the staff to cover all the gates.”
Mr Morrice also told the council that Lincolnshire Police are currently receiving an average of 20,000 101 calls a month, but he said the numbers are ‘going up and up and up’ with 21,000 calls made in July of this year.
He said they are answering an average of 66 per cent (13,200) of those within 30 seconds.
“I appreciate people are saying we can’t always get in on the 101 number but the volume of calls is, not small, but it is growing. Obviously our budgets are not so our numbers are not expanding but we’re dealing with what we can and we’re still approaching 66 per cent of non-urgent calls within 30 seconds.”
From January 1, until August 31, the council had received 56 calls related to Central Park including 34 related to drinking and three reports of criminal damage (of which one was actually in Norfolk Street, another was a case of youths attempting to retrieve their ball and damaging a fence as they climbed over it and the third was damage to a tree.
He said there was more than that, but it wasn’t being reported.
The number of incidents overall was 77 last year he said.
He said officers were having an issue where members of the public would call to report an incident but would be gone by the time officers turned up.
This might mean that officers turned up, cleared off the offenders but were not told about or pointed in the direction of any damage that had been done.
He also asked town wardens to ensure any acts of criminal damage were reported to police, because some were said to have been reported to officers but were not recorded as such.
For more from police and the BTAC meeting see next week’s Boston Standard.