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Get tough bid on street boozers

PUBLISHED: 12:24 15 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:04 05 July 2010

NEW powers to crack down on drunks who cause trouble on the streets of Lowestoft could be in force early next year.

The news follows the revelation that nearly 500 cases of alcohol-related violence were reported in the town last year.

NEW powers to crack down on drunks who cause trouble on the streets of Lowestoft could be in force early next year.

The news follows the revelation that nearly 500 cases of alcohol-related violence were reported in the town last year.

Revellers could be hit in the pocket and banned from drinking in public areas, for plans to introduce tough measures to counter alcohol-fuelled disorder around the town centre, seafront and at Oulton Broad have gone out to consultation, a month after The Journal revealed that a so-called designated public place order (DPPO) enabling confiscation of booze had been drawn up.

If the new rules go ahead, police will have powers to confiscate alcohol, and culprits who do not comply with a request could end up in court facing a £500 fine.

The proposed powers would not prevent individuals from consuming alcohol but would make it an offence to continue to do so after being asked to stop by a police officer.

The order would cover the Kirkley and Harbour wards and part of Oulton Broad and Whitton wards, to include Bridge Road and Nicholas Everitt Park.

Police figures for 2007-08 show these to be the worst areas for alcohol-related violence in Lowestoft, Out of a total of 496 reported cases across Lowestoft, three-quarters happened in Harbour and Kirkley, with a further 5pc taking place at Oulton Broad.

With 234 incidents in Kirkley, 149 in Harbour, 26 in Oulton Broad and 12 in the Whitton ward, the analysis from police shows the proportions of alcohol-related violence in public places.

Consultations on the crackdown plan will run until Monday, October 6.

Waveney district councillor Mary Rudd, portfolio holder for community safety, said: “Like many other similar towns, Lowestoft has experienced problems with a small but significant minority of people who drink to excess. We intend to implement a designated public place order in these areas to ensure that residents and visitors to Lowestoft feel confident, safe and free to go out and enjoy the town whatever the time of day.”

She added: “This is also a step in the right direction in helping reduce the considerable adverse health impact associated with heavy drinking. I am looking forward to what the consultation will bring and hope that we have the support of local licensees and businesses.”

The type of order proposed would not create a comprehensive ban on drinking within the specific areas and would not cover pubs and other buildings with a licence to serve alcohol.

Suffolk police spokeswoman Anne-Marie Breach said: “A DPPO would send a clear and consistent message that irresponsible street drinking and offending linked to alcohol consumption in public is not acceptable and will not be tolerated in the town.”

The order, if approved, could come into force on March 1 next year, and this week residents and visitors to Lowestoft were invited to have their say on the idea.

Send your comments to the community safety officer, Waveney District Council, Town Hall, High Street, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 1HS. Alternatively, you can email communitycohesion@waveney.gov.uk

And, while you're about it, why not write to The Journal to tell us what you think of the idea?


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