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New bid to crack down on drunken yobs

PUBLISHED: 14:00 23 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:40 07 July 2010

A proposed enforcement zone to crack down on drunken anti-social behaviour on the streets of Fakenham will be discussed by councillors next week.

Plans have been submitted to create a Designated Public Place Order in the town centre to address "nuisance or annoyance" associated with the consumption of alcohol in public.

A proposed enforcement zone to crack down on drunken anti-social behaviour on the streets of Fakenham will be discussed by councillors next week.

Plans have been submitted to create a Designated Public Place Order in the town centre to address “nuisance or annoyance” associated with the consumption of alcohol in public.

If implemented, the scheme would give police officers the power to arrest anybody who refuses to comply with a request to stop drinking or hand over alcohol.

Council officers said it was not a ban on drinking in public and the new powers would only be enforced if drinkers were acting aggressively or rowdily - and ignored police instructions.

A report to North Norfolk District Council's cabinet on Monday asks councillors for permission to launch a formal consultation with licensees, residents and highways officials.

Teri Munro, the council's community safety manager, said: “It is not a ban on drinking in public.

“If you are not acting anti-socially then nothing should happen, you should be allowed to carry on drinking. But if you were yelling and shouting then the police may ask you to stop drinking - once you say 'no' you have committed an offence and you could be arrested.

“Before, the police would have to wait for a public order offence to be committed before they could intervene. This is a really useful soft tool they can use to persuade people if they have had too much to drink.”

The report says 51 alcohol-related offences were reported in Fakenham between September 2007 and September 2008.

The proposed zone, including the Market Place and Bridge Street, is enclosed by boundaries extending to Highfield Road, Jubilee Avenue, Whitehorse Street and part of Holt Road. It only applies to non-licensed areas and would exclude pubs, beer gardens and private property.

Fakenham police inspector Tony Toynton said: “It is a preventative tool rather than a reactive one. “People who want a quiet drink at night will not even notice it, but people being rowdy and antisocial or underage drinkers - these are the people who will get caught and will get prosecuted.”

Fakenham publicans welcomed the scheme, which has already been implemented in North Norfolk at Sheringham and North Walsham.

Vince Stewart, co-proprietor of The Bull pub on Bridge Street, said: “It is no difference to us saying: 'I think you've had enough' and refusing to serve someone.

“It is the same thing in the street. If a police officer thinks somebody is likely to cause trouble because of the pint in their hand then they should be able to stop them.”

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