War on booze hots up

A MAJOR weapon in the fight against anti-social behaviour could be about to go borough-wide.

The town’s eight Designated Public Place Orders, aimed at clamping down mainly on rowdy and drunken youths, could be extended to cover every square inch of public space in the borough.

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.

“We have eight DPPOs in place, but now we are considering the introduction of a blanket DPPO which would see the benefits extended right across the borough. A DPPO is not a total ban on drinking alcohol in public places and is not intended to disrupt peaceful activities. But first we want residents to tell us what they think.”

While a DPPO does not make it a criminal offence to consume alcohol within a designated area, it does become an offence 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.

“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 power.

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

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 hotspot areas into other areas, increase feelings of safety, and eradicates inconsistencies in enforcement allowing all communities, businesses and residents throughout the borough to benefit equally from increased police powers.”