Street-boozing crackdown

By Lara Cerroni

24 January 2011

Plans to introduce a borough-wide drinking control zone to curb alcohol-related anti-social behaviour have been given the go-ahead.

Although it does not ban people from drinking in public, the designated public order zone provides the council and police with the power to react quickly and effectively to drunken disturbance.

It will provide Tower Hamlets enforcement officers (THEOs) and the police with the powers to stop people and confiscate, demand and dispose of any alcohol within the boundaries of Tower Hamlets.

A public consultation will take place to give residents and businesses an opportunity to express their views before the scheme is introduced.

The borough has three drinking control zones – in Whitechapel, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch – while a number of neighbouring boroughs have already introduced borough-wide drinking control zones.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman, who has given the proposals the green light, said: “We want our residents to feel safe in their community and that mean tackling anti-social behaviour head on.

“Alcohol often leads people to  become a nuisance and these new powers mean the council can work with the police to put a stop to it, when and where it happens.”

Police Superintendent Mark Wolski added: “Alcohol-related violence is a challenge to our community. The anti-social behaviour associated with misuse of alcohol is widely held as a priority for action.

“The imposition of controlled drinking zones will be one more tool by which we can police the streets more effectively, in accordance with local needs.”

The initial control zones have proved successful, giving the council and police a good understanding of how they can operate and improve the quality of life for residents.

However, their success has seen street drinkers move to other areas of the borough, forcing the council to introduce the borough-wide control zones.

Failure to comply with a request from the police to hand over alcohol can result in arrest and/or a fine of up to £500.