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Responsible Drinking Borough

What is a responsible drinking borough?

A responsible drinking borough (also known as Drinking Control Zones, Alcohol Control Zones and or Alcohol Restricted Zones in other boroughs) does not outlaw drinking in public but reflects a decision to control irresponsible behaviour linked to alcohol consumption.

PROHIBITION: No person shall refuse to stop drinking alcohol or hand over containers (sealed or unsealed) which are believed to contain alcohol, when required to do so by an authorised officer.

 

It is important to note that officers will only enforce this prohibition when people drinking alcohol are currently or likely to cause anti-social behaviour.

 

Police and council enforcement officers (e.g. Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officers (THEOs)) have additional powers (under a legal power called a Public Spaces Protection Order), where they reasonably believe that a person is or has been consuming alcohol in public spaces within the alcohol control zone, or that a person intends to consume alcohol in public spaces, which doing so would breach that prohibition. It allows authorised officers to require that person:

  • Not to consume alcohol or anything which the authorised officer reasonably believes to be alcohol
  • To surrender anything in their possession which is, or which the authorised officer reasonably believes to be alcohol or a container for alcohol.

If they fail to comply with the request not to consume alcohol or to surrender anything in their possession which is reasonably believed to be alcohol or a container for alcohol when asked to do so by an authorised officer, they can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (on the spot fine) up to £100 or on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £500 (Level 2) on the standard scale.

View the Responsible Drinking Borough PSPO.

Will this stop me drinking outside a pub or in my garden?

No, it only applies to public spaces, such as the street or a park. It will not stop anyone from drinking outside a pub during and up to 30 minutes after licensing hours, or from drinking in their own garden or sensibly in a public space. It will however, stop those committing anti-social behaviour in parks and public spaces through their excessive drinking.

A public space for the purposes of this Order means any place to which the public or any section of the public has access to, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission.

What is Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB)?

The Anti-social Behaviour (ASB), Crime and Policing Act 2014, section 2 defines ASB as:

  1. Conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any person
  2. Conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person’s occupation of residential premises, or
  3. Conduct capable of causing housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person

ASB is any aggressive, intimidating or destructive activity that damages or destroys another person’s quality of life. Issues that can be considered to be ASB include:

  • Rowdy, noisy behaviour in otherwise quiet neighbourhoods
  • Threatening, drunken or intimidating behaviour
  • Vandalism and graffiti
  • Littering
  • Aggressive begging

Does this need to be borough-wide?

Anti-social behaviour and crime linked to excessive alcohol consumption is an issue across the whole of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and there is a minority of people in the borough who will cause disruption and disturbance to others. The Responsible Drinking Borough (under a Public Spaces Protection Order) gives the police and council enforcement officers additional powers to target those who cause misery to others and will also provide reassurance to law-abiding residents that something is being done to tackle these issues.

The surrounding boroughs to Tower Hamlets have implemented borough-wide Drinking Control Zones under Designated Public Place Orders, and these will also have automatically transitioned into Public Place Protection Orders under the legislation as Tower Hamlets have. We currently have two smaller Public Space Protection Orders in place covering Brick Lane and King’s Arms Court, which include additional prohibitions to prevent specific types of anti-social behaviour which have impacted these local areas.

When was it designated, when will it be enforced and how long will it last?

An extensive six-week public consultation took place in February – March 2011 where residents, businesses, charities, partner organisations and licensees were contacted and a series of information road-shows. The consultation found that 84 per cent of those who responded were in favour of introducing a Responsible Drinking Borough.

The Responsible Drinking Borough was approved by the Community Safety Partnership, which is made up of statutory authorities including the Police, council, NHS, Probation and Fire Service and has been approved by the council’s committee process which culminated in a vote by all elected councillors on 13 July 2011.

Following a two week public notice period, the powers under the new PSPO are now available to authorised officers in the Police and council to use at their discretion, where they believe a person consuming alcohol is or is likely to cause anti-social behaviour.

Signs have been placed in prominent locations across the borough to inform residents and visitors of the Responsible Drinking Borough and its implications to them.   

This Public Spaces Protection Order has automatically transitioned from the existing Designated Public Protection Order on 20 October 2017, and will last for a period of three years (until 19th October 20), its effectiveness and enforcement will be reviewed annually and any decision made to alter/extend it, will require further public consultation to take place. 

What support is available for street drinkers?

Street drinkers in the borough will continue to be offered advice and support into treatment services to help them address their addictions, move out of the ‘street lifestyle’ and address their anti-social behaviour. The authorities will continue to offer this support to anyone who needs it, but will use these additional powers to prevent alcohol related anti-social behaviour. 

How can I report alcohol related anti-social behaviour in my area?

You can report alcohol related anti-social behaviour by calling the Police Non-Emergency Number 101 or by speaking in person with a member of your local Police Safer Neighbourhood Team.