Wednesday, 15 October 2008

BAN THE BOOZE - IN PUBLIC!


Well it seems that the issue of drinking in public just won't go away,
I wonder why? Could it be that it is linked with most occurrences of Anti Social Behaviour? I have blogged before that this surge on our society needs to be tackled and a ban of drinking in public places would go a long way to stopping people felling intimidated whilst going about their normal lives.
Newcastle Borough Council have issued another 50 alcohol restriction zones, bring the total to 349. Anyone caught drinking in these restriction zones face a fine of up to £500.
Why oh why is it taking Stoke on Trent City Council so long to follow suit? In our city large numbers of honest residents witness countless episodes of anti social behaviour around our council and private estates, this problem has no respect of class or gender. Where I live in Meir Hay there has been loads of trouble with youngster congregating around our local Tesco convenience store and other shops where they hang around. Last year, because there was so much trouble around the estate and old people in particular were frightened and intimidated by these gangs and were often abused as they walked past them. I myself, witnessed a full on street fight where rival gangs the MHC (Meir Hay Crew) and the SHC (Sanford Hill Crew) were trying to beat several shades out of each other. The police were called and the gang dispersed.
Incidents like this prompted several public meetings instigated by Rob Flello MP and i have to say they were a tremendous success, even Mark Meredith was in attendance! These meetings gave people a platform to have their say and to take comfort in the number of people who wanted something done about this problem. Rob Flello persuaded the City Council to impose a section30 dispersal order on the Meir Hay/Weston Park estates. This order was in force for 6 months and it gave the police the power to disperse gangs of two or more young people, if they were caught more than twice in one day they were taken home, persistent offenders were eventually arrested and were made to sign behaviour contracts. No alcohol restriction orders were introduced, although Mr Flello talked about the possibility.
Recently i have noticed these gangs coming back onto the estates and i wonder if it will be a matter of time before the trouble starts again. Meir Park, Weston Coyney & Trentham are known to have similar problems.
There is no doubt in my mind that alcohol plays a massive part in anti social behaviour. It is so easy to obtain cheap beer and cider and some of the large supermarkets are to blame for this.
You only have to look at the case of Gary Newlove to see how dangerous alcohol can be in the wrong hands and i admit to being worried if a case like this will be seen somewhere in our city if we do not introduce Alcohol Restriction Zones and if Newcastle can have over 350 of these, why can't our council before it becomes much, much worse? Is this a sledge hammer to crack a nut? Should we let young people drink alcohol in public? What would you do to defeat anti social behaviour?
Read the Sentinel Story on this by following this link:
http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/council/Boozing-banned-public-tackle-drunken-yobs/article-396575-detail/article.html


14 comments:

brooneyes said...

Tony, the BNP submitted a request
for the creation of a by-law banning the public consumption of alcohol. I got a reply back from the council saying there was no need for what we were suggesting as they had alcohol free zones.
Who in their right mind takes away the permanent option and replaces it with a temporary one? If the BNP get in, this is one of the things we'll be looking to implement.

Anonymous said...

One of the issues around this is that the police already have powers to confiscate alcohol from anyone having it illegally - ie under 18. I have seen the police doing just this at Meir Hay Tesco. Clearly there are two issues - one, are the police using their powers fully and two, is their enough of a problem caused by over 18s drinking in the streets to make a ban useful.

Nigel said...

Craig, I understand where your coming from and you have a valid point but like the anonymous poster stated, it is under 18's who are the majority of the one's who are being anti-social and drinking in public. In that case, they are already breaking the law so an all out ban would have little impact. What is needed is greater enforcement of current laws.

nita said...

Brooneyes, can you inform us where these alcohol free zones are?

They certainly don't apply to Hanley in the day.

brooneyes said...

Nita, you'll know where they are, they put signs up on lamposts and around shops and parks.

ian norris said...

Anon: fully agree with you there any new Alchol Free Zones are just pure hype to make public believe council and police ans attempting to deal with the problem. The Powers already exist but for what ever reason funding/understaffing/Community police officers they are not enforced.

warren said...

Public drinking sould be stoped by law. Its just not right but you see it every day, prats wandering round with nowt better do, sluging it out of the can, right out of the offie and down there neaks. It then leads to public disorder and other Anit Social Behaviour. We as a city sould not stand for it, never mind aclohol free zones, a city wide ban to sort the beggers out. If they want to drink, they sould do it in there own home or the local pubs. Tell you one thing, some littel drunks in Meir had a bit of a shock last night, becouse on my walk yesterday morning I fond 8 cans of Cider and a bottel of cheep and nasty wine hidden in a bush, I removed them and put them in my wheely bin and that got emptided right after. I felt a bit gultey, becouse I could have thrown the beer down the drain and recyceld the cans and bottel, but what the hell, for once in your life. As for the person asking if there is a problem with the over 18s drinking and stinking drunk on the streets, I have two questions for you 1. Where do you live and do you go anywhere apart from there in the city and 2. Are you blind, its a hell of a problem.

warren said...

Public drinking sould be stoped by law. Its just not right but you see it every day, prats wandering round with nowt better do, sluging it out of the can, right out of the offie and down there neaks. It then leads to public disorder and other Anit Social Behaviour. We as a city sould not stand for it, never mind aclohol free zones, a city wide ban to sort the beggers out. If they want to drink, they sould do it in there own home or the local pubs. Tell you one thing, some littel drunks in Meir had a bit of a shock last night, becouse on my walk yesterday morning I fond 8 cans of Cider and a bottel of cheep and nasty wine hidden in a bush, I removed them and put them in my wheely bin and that got emptided right after. I felt a bit gultey, becouse I could have thrown the beer down the drain and recyceld the cans and bottel, but what the hell, for once in your life. As for the person asking if there is a problem with the over 18s drinking and stinking drunk on the streets, I have two questions for you 1. Where do you live and do you go anywhere apart from there in the city and 2. Are you blind, its a hell of a problem.

warren said...

Soirry got a problem with the desk top, time to get the hammer out.

Hugh said...

The alcohol free zones are a joke! I live in one (Burslem Park). As there is no-one who enforces the zone, nothing has changed. The police still drive past at high speed, or, if they happen to be taking due regard of the speed limit, ignore the problem completely. Apparently the ban is not enforceable on under-18s, which seems a mite stupid, as I would guess that a majority of offenders on this patch fall into that category. It seems that, as they are breaking the law anyway, they weren't included.
If these zones are introduced, they must be properly policed - as yet they are not!

brooneyes said...

The fact that these zones don't work, is one of the reasons the BNP made its application for a by-law. On of the other things I've had a look at is Stoke-on-Trent used to have its own police force, we shall weigh up the pros and cons of returning to that.

Anonymous said...

So much for the BNP wanting a democratic country !

I agree with certain zones having resrictions, thats common sense, and Hanley does have one 24 hours. A police person has to see you break it though.

The rest of the country though, the young are a big problem, and laws already exist for them.

And why should law abiding citizens wanting a glass of wine with a picnic be banned ?

Thats the problem with blanket bans in a free and democratic country ??

T COPE said...

Well said Waren, bet their faces hit the floor when they came for their booze, lol.
Watch out though they might sue you ha ha.
On a serious side this problem can be sorted if as Craig said, and a City Wide ban was imposed, and followed through, but the powers that be, don't have the inclination to try and stop it.
Anonymous how many people do you see walking round with a glass of wine, you must live in a posh area lol.

nicky said...

I said on the Sentinel site, rather than having to go to the bother of setting up all these public areas as alcohol-free zones, why don't we have all public areas as alcohol-free. (This fits in with what Craig is saying the BNP requested.)

Of course it's all very well for me to say that as I don't drink alcohol. There are a number of reasons for that personal choice, including the damage that I see it does to health and that I don't want to feel that I'm anyway connected with the problems it causes in society.

Nevertheless I accept that those who have whatever reason they do to want to drink alcohol, may wish the freedom to do that in certain public places.

So I'd suggest an overall ban of alcohol in all public places as a default, but then have a system where an application can be made for particular public places in which alcohol will be allowed.

So have the system the opposite way around to what it is now.