Alcohol ban on resort streets
DRINKING alcohol on the streets in Felixstowe could soon be banned.The Evening Star can reveal today that plans are being considered for a banning order on boozing in the resort's streets to curb growing problems and concern over alcohol-related crime and rowdy behaviour.
EXCLUSIVE By JOANNE CONSTABLE
DRINKING alcohol on the streets in Felixstowe could soon be banned.
The Evening Star can reveal today that plans are being considered for a banning order on boozing in the resort's streets to curb growing problems and concern over alcohol-related crime and rowdy behaviour.
Under 18s could also be planted by police to catch out off-licence owners in the fight to reduce under-age drinking.
But Trimley councillors, who wanted an alcohol ban to curb drunken youngsters vandalising their village, have been refused an order by Suffolk Coastal council.
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Scott Bentley, council community safety link officer, said an alcohol ban in Felixstowe – if approved – would be part of a package of crime-fighting measures.
"Quite recently we have put together an implementation plan in relation to the crime and disorder reduction strategy. A alcohol ban was one of a number of things to give consideration for use in particular parts of Felixstowe," he said.
"Legislation came in to force around this time last year and it replaced alcohol by-laws. It's useful in some ways but also limited. I would have to speak to the police further to see how it would be policed in Felixstowe."
If it were to be put in place it would be used around the seafront where the hub of nightlife is and where many of the alcohol-related problems occur.
The order would give police powers to seize opened cans and bottles of alcohol from people in the streets but not unopened drink.
"It's not a panacea. It would be one of a number of tools which would be used," said Mr Bentley.
The other tools would include reviewing late-night transport to help disperse revellers leaving pubs and clubs at the same time on Friday and Saturday nights.
The police are also considering using youths as "mystery shoppers" to test if off licence workers are adhering to the law and refusing to sell alcohol to youngsters under 18.
"One area causing concern is that off licenses are having difficulty establishing whether people are old enough to buy alcohol," said Felixstowe police Inspector Andy Bushell.
"One option open to me is to have youngsters go in to off licenses and try to buy alcohol. The law now allows me to do that and I have said that is an option and if I'm not happy that they aren't towing the line that is something I can do."
Trimley requested an alcohol ban to curb the trouble caused by gangs gathering at the Faulkeners Way shops, but it has been rejected by the council because it was inappropriate.
"One of the community police officers brought it up with me and then got the problem in control by other means," said Mr Bentley.
Mr Bentley said the order would be more suitable in a town where there are pubs and clubs rather than a quiet village.
n Opinion – page 6