Street drinking ban to help cut disorder
IN A bid to stamp out drunken and anti-social behaviour the heart of Ashford is set to become an alcohol free zone.
News that the council is working with police to make it illegal to drink in public, apart from in pubs and clubs, is being welcomed.
Police have proposed a Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) for Victoria Ward, which includes the town centre. DPPOs can be introduced in areas where disorder has been associated with consuming alcohol.
Police have drawn up a document detailing records of crime and anti-social behaviour in the ward from January to July this year.
Ashford police licensing and enforcement officer, Dave Griffiths, said Ashford has one of the lowest crime rates in the area, even though it is the largest borough in Kent.
He said: “As a thriving town which is experiencing rapid and ongoing growth, the development of the daytime retail economy and nighttime pub, club and restaurant economy does mean we sometimes get alcoholrelated crime and disorder.
“The DPPO is another tool that will enable officers to deal effectively with the minority of people who cause problems in the town centre.
“If approved, it will complement local initiatives such as the Safer Autumn campaign and the Safer Socialising Award scheme.
“Signs will be placed within the designated area to support awareness and enforcement of the order and make for an even safer Ashford for everyone.”
Ashford Borough Council spokesman Graham Clifford, said: “Ashford council, together with our partners in the Community Safety Partnership, will continue to work closely with police on all matters of community safety and will be submitting a full report to the council’s executive and full council on December 11 and 18.”
Town centre partnership co-ordinator, Viv Kenny, said such an order would have no impact on the cafe and bar culture which adds ambience to the town, but give necessary powers to control those who might abuse it on occasions, when actions and excessive drinking in public lead to antisocial behaviour.
She said: “I personally welcome the move to achieve a Designated Public Place Order. This is just another step in maintaining Ashford’s position as one of the safest towns in Kent.
“In due course, a consultation period will enable our town businesses to make comment.”
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Ashford police licensing and enforcement officer, PC Dave Griffiths
It is hoped that making parts of Ashford alcohol-free zones will stamp out drunken and anti-social behaviour