Booze blitz is stepped up

One of the Wigan Alcohol Ban Area signs in King Street
One of the Wigan Alcohol Ban Area signs in King Street
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A BOROUGH-wide crackdown on drinking in public places comes into force tomorrow.

No longer will the consumption of alcohol be largely prohibited in a limited number of places, but in all but a number of specially exempt venues.

The move, first reported by the Wigan Evening Post several months ago, is the latest bid by the authorities to tackle booze-related anti-social behaviour.

It involves the creation of a borough-wide Designated Public Place Order (DPPO).

Sally Wolstencroft, Head of Safer, Cleaner and Greener at Wigan Council, said: “A DPPO is one of the many practical tools that police and local authorities can roll out, giving them the power to deal specifically with areas where alcohol-related nuisance is a particular issue.

“A DPPO is not a total ban on drinking alcohol in public places and is not intended to disrupt peaceful activities but after extensive consultation and a following an analytical evidence base it has been agreed to adopt the powers across the borough of Wigan.”

The DPPO will not make it a criminal offence to consume alcohol within a designated area only if a person fails to comply with a police officer’s requirements or if they refuse to surrender their alcohol.

This may result in being arrested and, if convicted, could lead to a maximum fine of £500.

Ms Wolstencroft added: “We’re not intending to use these powers to target people enjoying peaceful activities in public.

“For instance, adults having a glass of wine during a family picnic in a park would not be affected by these new powers.

“This power is to reduce alcohol-related disturbances which are a nuisance for everybody.”

The Boroughwide DPPO will revoke the eight DPPOs that were in place in Wigan town centre and Mesnes Park, parts of Leigh town centre, and the centres of Ashton, Golborne, Tyldesley, Hindley and Shevington which were implemented over several years after special concerns were raised and have been largely deemed successful.

Coun Kevin Anderson, cabinet champion for safer neighbourhoods, said: “Experience has shown that the DPPOs that currently exist have helped in promoting a positive image for the borough, improved behaviour on the streets and has reduced the level of alcohol consumption.

“The benefits of adopting a borough-wide DPPO will be that it prevents displacement from hotspots areas into other areas, it will increase feelings of safety within the borough, and eradicate inconsistencies in enforcement allowing all communities, businesses and residents throughout the borough to benefit equally from increased police powers.”

Supt Bob Lomas of Wigan Police said: “Tackling and reducing alcohol-related nuisance is one of Wigan’s top priorities, and we will work closely with the council and other partners to ensure that these orders are properly enforced to improve the lives of local residents.”

The order would affect all open air spaces such as parks, roads, highways, alleyways and footpaths.

It will not affect people drinking in their own gardens, private property or licensed premises such as cafes or restaurants that have tables outside.

For further information relating to the Boroughwide DPPO contact Neighbourhood Teams on 01942 404364.