Drinking in Public Ban — Consultation
PURBECK District Council is extending the consultation period over whether to ban drinking alcohol in public areas in certain parts of the district.
Sections 12-16 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 gives local authorities the power to restrict anti-social public drinking in designated public places, and the police have the power to enforce the restriction.
The measures are designed to curb anti-social behaviour problems caused by public drinking, and the consultation follows requests to Purbeck District Council from Dorset Police and various parish and town councils.
The district council is currently looking at the proposals for a zone that would cover areas within Arne, Bere Regis, Lytchett Matravers, Lytchett Minster, Upton, Swanage, Wareham, West Lulworth and Wool. To introduce the designation, Purbeck District Council must be satisfied that the area has had problems associated with the consumption of alcohol and that it has caused a nuisance or annoyance to members of the public.
The proposals were first published for consultation on 24 February. The council has received a considerable number of representations already – some calling for the designated area to be wider and others asking that no designations be made at all.
If introduced, the new scheme will not be a blanket ban on drinking in the open air. The offence will not be one of consumption of alcohol in a public place, but drinking after being required by an officer not to do so. It will only apply in areas where there has been experience of public drinking problems and therefore it is unlikely to include peaceful family picnic areas. The measures would be introduced specifically to deal with anti-social behaviour that is the result of public drinking.
In the case of special events such as the Swanage Carnival, the district council could, with the agreement of the police, allow the event to go ahead without any restrictions on alcohol. The powers are discretionary and therefore can be reviewed and exercised if local circumstances demand.
Consultation with parish and town councils, licensees, the police and local landowners will continue until 24 April when the district council will consider all the opinions expressed and make a recommendation to Council.
A full list of all the areas being consulted on is available from the council offices at Westport House in Wareham.