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: