Highcliffe excluded from BCP Council zone to combat alcohol crime
NEW powers to clamp down on alcohol-related anti-social behaviour have been approved by BCP Council without covering areas of Christchurch, despite some residents calling for their communities to be included.
At the latest meeting of the ruling Conservative cabinet, councillors gave the green light to the adoption of a new public spaces protection order (PSPO) covering most of the conurbation, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
They said the new powers would provide “reassurance” to visitors and residents of the area that the council “will not tolerate” disorder.
The order, which is due to come into force from July, will cover 29 of the council’s 33 wards and gives council and police officers the right to confiscate alcohol.
It will allow them to order people behaving anti-socially to give up their drinks in any of these areas.
But the council said it was not a ban on alcohol in public places, nor would it make it an offence to drink in the area.
The wards not covered include Commons, and Highcliffe and Walkford where it was felt there were not frequent enough issues to warrant their inclusion.
As reported in the A&T, calls for Highcliffe's inclusion were made by the parish council, residents association and local BCP councillor Nigel Brooks. They pointed to instances of anti-social behaviour but BCP Council said there was not enough evidence the issues were caused by drinking.
Work to introduce the order began last year in the wake of the scenes of disorder in Bournemouth and concerns that there were not strong enough powers to deal with these issues.
The council’s cabinet member for community safety, Cllr May Haines, said the PSPO was the most effective way to increase these.
“We want to ensure that people visiting, living and working in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole feel safe and that street based anti-social behaviour is addressed robustly,” she said.
“We also need to make sure we take a consistent and balanced approach, applying effective solutions to the complex issues around anti-social behaviour.”
Permission to introduce the order was given unanimously by the council’s cabinet.
Cllr Karen Rampton said it would “provide some reassurance to our residents and to our visitors that anti-social behaviour caused by persistent public drinking, will not be tolerated in our times".
Cllr Haines said the council had considered the possibility of these issues being pushed into the excluded wards but that it was felt this would not happen.
“There was no evidence to support persistent anti-social behaviour caused by alcohol consumption in these areas,” she said. “And there was also no evidence that there would be displacement because they are slightly further out within the conurbation and are mainly residential.”
The PSPO is due to come into force on Thursday 1st July.