Street drink­ing ban to help cut dis­or­der

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - by Mike Ben­nett mben­nett@thek­m­group.co.uk

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.

Crime

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.”

Abuse

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.”

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, Kent TN24 8RJ or email ken­tishe xpress@thek­m­group.co.uk

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

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