Efforts to tackle street drinking in Spalding town centre have been heralded a success.
South Holland District Council says its partnership approach to the problem – which many people have claimed causes them to feel intimidated – has had a noticeable effect, with statistics showing a significant reduction in the need for police intervention.
Between June and July last year the number of incidents dealt with by police almost halved, and the number of calls from the public fell by more than 50 per cent.
The council is confident that this can be attributed to its community safety work with the police.
Through partnership, a number of action points have been developed and enforced by the council including:
- Adopting a single-can policy – this was an agreement with local off-licences not to sell single cans. Street drinkers were buying one can at a time to minimise their loss when police made seizures
- Litter removal – the council made an undertaking to remove all litter, including discarded cans and bottles, within the Designated Public Protection Order area every 24 hours
- Rough sleepers – it became apparent that many of our street drinkers were also rough sleepers. Joint patrols with the Framework Street Outreach Team took place to break the cycle.
- Foreign nationals – it was also apparent that the majority of street drinkers were from central and eastern European backgrounds. Joint working with UK Border Agency removed some of the most prolific street drinkers as the council could evidence that they were not exercising their treaty rights.
Cllr Nick Worth, portfolio holder for community, said: “I’m pleased that our work with the police on tackling street drinking has achieved good results.
“Together, we recognised that it was an area of concern for many people and the reduction in police intervention demonstrates the benefits to be gained from our partnership approach. I would like to thank Spalding community inspector Jim Tyner and his colleagues for their work in achieving this.
“We know, though, that the problem is still there – albeit on a smaller scale – and with the summer months approaching when it is more prevalent we will continue to work closely together to reduce it further.”
And community policing inspector Jim Tyner said: “For some, street drinking is an emotive issue and I am very pleased that the hard work of Spalding Police and South Holland District Council made a difference to the sense of well-being in Spalding town centre.
“However, I’m not complacent and we are putting plans in place to meet the challenges this year.”