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New police powers launched in Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 15:10 27 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:39 05 July 2010

NEW police powers to reduce drunkenness and potentially hit drinkers in the pocket will be launched across Lowestoft this weekend.

A series of signs warning that officers now have new powers of arrest and the authority to seize alcohol from troublemakers in public places have been unveiled.

NEW police powers to reduce drunkenness and potentially hit drinkers in the pocket will be launched across Lowestoft this weekend.

A series of signs warning that officers now have new powers of arrest and the authority to seize alcohol from troublemakers in public places have been unveiled.

And the latest weapon in a bid to curb alcohol related anti-social behaviour on the town's streets will mean that from Sunday (March 1) it will be an offence to fail to comply with a request from an officer to stop drinking in the Kirkley, Harbour and Oulton Broad wards.

With the signs highlighting the boundaries of the town's Designated Public Places Order, the new scheme is aiming to counteract a rise in anti-social street drinking.

Waveney District Council voted in favour of the DPPO at a meeting in November last year after police compiled a report highlighting the concerns.

Waveney District Council, Suffolk Police and the Community Safety Partnership have joined forces to target anti-social drinkers and revellers who cause misery for residents.

The DPPO will cover the Harbour wards in central Lowestoft, Kirkley and parts of Whitton and Oulton Broad, including Nicholas Everitt Park as it provides police officers with additional powers to confiscate alcohol and take action against those involved in anti-social drinking.

It will also make it an offence to drink alcohol after being requested not to do so by a police officer. The police will have the power to require the surrender of alcohol and containers in these circumstances and those who fail to comply will be liable to arrest.

Mary Rudd, Waveney District Council's portfolio holder for community safety, said: “I am delighted to see the signs going up around town.

“The DPPO will give the police power to seize alcohol within the designated area and they will be able to arrest of fine up to £500 those people who do not comply.

“This will add to people feeling safer in their community and help us work towards stopping the anti-social behaviour that is often caused by excessive drinking.”

The new powers will be reviewed after a few months and it could be extended to other parts of Lowestoft and across Waveney if the scheme proves successful.

Acting inspector Kevin Howell, of Suffolk police, was involved with colleagues from the Lowestoft Central Safer Neighbourhood Team in compiling the initial report into the feasibility of a DPPO in the town.

He said the order would not affect members of the public who just wanted to enjoy a social drink.

“The DPPO is a common sense approach to dealing with those causing a nuisance because they have been drinking,” he added.

“Lowestoft is a tourist town and, historically, we have had problems with street drinkers, who have caused problems for law-abiding members of the public just trying to enjoy a day out.

“We won't be stopping a family or group of friends having a drink in a public place. Only those who step out of line and cause problems for others will be affected.

“The DPPO gives us additional powers, alongside our ability to arrest for criminal offences, which we hope will help us reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour.”

For more information on the areas affected by the DPPO log onto the crime reduction pages of the council's website at www.waveney.gov.uk Alternatively, hard copies can be viewed at Lowestoft Town Hall or the Marina Centre in the town centre.

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