New protection orders aim to stop street drinking and alcohol disorder

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Street drinking and booze-fulled disorder in Pontefract and Castleford could be soon be tackled with new powers.

Senior councillors will decide later this month whether to give the green light to new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) in the two town centres and in Pontefract's Valley Gardens.

They are designed to give Wakefield Council and the police the ability to deal with anti-social behaviour in hotspot areas.

If the orders are approved, people could be hit by £100 Fixed Penalty Notices for drunken and intimidating behaviour, and could be fined £1,000 if prosecuted through the court system.

Coun Maureen Cummings, cabinet member for environment and communities, said: “Castleford and Pontefract town centres are great places to come for something to eat, drink and shop, and Valley Gardens is a beautiful location to walk, relax and play.

"It is appalling that the actions of a few are spoiling it, which is why we are considering a PSPO for these areas. By doing all we can to stop anti-social behaviour in our town centres will also help us to keep and attract more new businesses into the areas.

"Everyone has the right to feel safe and we’re quite clear - anti-social behaviour must never be tolerated, that is why we want to use all the powers we can to tackle this behaviour.”

A PSPO began operating in Wakefield city centre earlier this year.

Hundreds of alcoholic drinks have been confiscated - and police have made several arrests for alcohol-related offending.

Inspector Helen Brear of the Wakefield Central NPT, said: “We have been visiting retailers who we suspect of supplying strong, cheap alcohol which ends up being drunk in the open in the town centres.

“I can assure residents that we know who our most prevalent street drinkers are and are continually pressuring them to get them to change their ways."

A petition with more than 1,200 signatures calling for a ban on street drinking in Castleford prompted the council to look at rolling out PSPOs in other problem areas.

Inspector Paul Sullivan of the Pontefract, Knottingley and Castleford NPTs, said: “We have listened to the concerns of residents, shopkeepers and people visiting the towns and are well aware of the impact this has on the area.

“These new powers will give us increased ability to quickly confront and deal with persons seen drinking alcohol in these zones and we would urge anyone who sees persons drinking and causing anti-social behaviour in them to contact their local NPT officers.

“Alcohol related anti-social behaviour is highly detrimental to our town centres and we will absolutely not accept or tolerate it.”

Members of the council's cabinet will discuss the proposed new PSPOs at a meeting on Tuesday, November 21, at 10.30am.