Town may ban street drinking

DRINKING alcohol in public could be outlawed in parts of a market town in a new bid to clamp down on anti-social behaviour.Officials in Haverhill are looking into the ban idea, which if implemented could concentrate on hotspots like Jubilee Walk and the bus station area – where large groups of under-age youths are known to congregate and drink.

DRINKING alcohol in public could be outlawed in parts of a market town in a new bid to clamp down on anti-social behaviour.

Officials in Haverhill are looking into the ban idea, which if implemented could concentrate on hotspots like Jubilee Walk and the bus station area - where large groups of under-age youths are known to congregate and drink.

The new legislation may be introduced under the amended Criminal Justice and Police Act of 2001.

Officers would be given powers to confiscate both sealed and unsealed cans and bottles from offenders, and public drinking could be an arrestable offence.

Insp Mark Jepson, area commander for Haverhill, said: “This is intended to reduce incidents of disorder and public nuisance in designated public areas arising from alcohol consumption.

“In certain areas of Haverhill there is persistent anti-social behaviour from youngsters, which could benefit from such a ban. It would not extend to the entire town.

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“Although we have had some success with various other measures, the problem has not been solved. We are now taking the view we should do something with long-term benefits.

“Haverhill does not have widespread disorder problems, and the main difficulties we have got are with the teenagers.

“This problem is not huge or horrendous, but is a niggling issue we would like to address, before it gets too bad.”

Insp Jepson added: “Obviously one of the issues is that this ban could move the problem around, which is why we are working with others to come up with alternative activities to divert the attention of these youths.”

Gerry Kiernan, who represents the town on St Edmundsbury Borough Council, welcomed the move.

He said: “There seem to be groups of young people who congregate in certain areas.

“The problem can sometimes just be the fact that they gather in large groups. This is not always suitable for places where people are walking past and want to go to the shops, for example, without any hassle.

“In a couple of small areas, there is a need to make sure that people are not drinking, and if a ban could help deal with that, it would be welcome.”

The proposal is due to be discussed by representatives from the police and Haverhill Town Council later in the year.

There is already a by-law in Bury St Edmunds banning public drinking in the town's historic core.

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