Council measures to tackle town centre drinking come into force tomorrow

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Bedford Town Centre

In response to overwhelming public support, the council is implementing measures to tackle street drinking and related anti-social behaviour in the area of Bedford town centre.

The Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) comes into force from Wednesday 16 December and is set to remain in place for three years initially.

This PSPO proposal followed a wide-ranging consultation conducted by the Bedford Borough Community Safety Partnership in 2019, where alcohol-related anti-social behaviour in the town centre came back as a key concern for people.

In the consultation to introduce this Order, 90.7% of the over 500 respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the proposal.

It has been welcomed by town centre councillors and those responsible for community safety.

This PSPO would prohibit people consuming alcohol or having an open container of alcohol in the defined area, to prevent anti-social behaviour.

It covers the town centre from the Embankment in the south, St Cuthbert’s Street in the east, Landsdowne Road, Roff Avenue and De Parys Avenue in the north, and Ashburnham Road in the west.

Once in place, the Order gives the Police and authorised officers powers to enforce against those breaking it, from asking the person to surrender the alcohol, issuing a Community Protection Notice, a criminal behaviour order, to issuing a fixed penalty notice.

The Council will continue to offer support for people where appropriate, such as referral to alcohol support services.

Cllr Colleen Atkins, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Regulatory Services said: “Street drinking and related anti-social behaviour is a key concern for local people.

“This Order will give the Police and other officers the powers to enforce against people drinking alcohol or having an open container of alcohol in the town centre area and reduce anti-social behaviour, tackling an issue that was identified as a problem.”

Green Party councillors, Lucy Bywater and Ben Foley, who represent the town centre’s Castle Ward welcomed the news.

Cllr Bywater said: “Too many residents of Castle Ward suffer as a result of street drinking, so we are glad that the rules are clear on this”.

“The important thing now is to actually put some effort into making sure people keep to the rules on this, which does real harm, rather than getting distracted by other less important rules that generate more fines for the council,” said Cllr Foley.

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