Tough new action against louts
TOUGH new action is to be taken against drunken hooligans who ruin the quality of life in Woodbridge town centre with their anti-social behaviour.They will be banned from every licensed premise in the town – and they will even be stopped from turning out for their pub's football, crib or pool team.
TOUGH new action is to be taken against drunken hooligans who ruin the quality of life in Woodbridge town centre with their anti-social behaviour.
They will be banned from every licensed premise in the town - and they will even be stopped from turning out for their pub's football, crib or pool team.
And they will also not be allowed into beer gardens, as well as being stopped from drinking soft drinks or eating crisps bought by a third party.
Police officers and residents are fed up with an escalation in the antics of drunken people disturbing the peace.
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Mick Sears, the town centre community police officer, said: "Over the past 12 months and more, Woodbridge town centre has suffered a marked increase in anti-social behaviour, not just from young people, but from the age group of 18 to 25-year-olds while they have been drinking in the local pubs.
"There have been fights, criminal damage to shop premises and parked vehicles etc.
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"More policemen have had to be drafted in and I feel that the banning powers are another tool to help me continue to try and make Woodbridge a safe and welcoming environment for visitors and residents.
"I personally think that if say a sports person is banned for three months they could perhaps feel they can cope with that.
"But they could find it is more of a punishment for them not to play football every Sunday for their pub team, and then they will realise how stiff this punishment could be.''
Every licensed premise and drinks outlet, including shops, have signed up to the Nightsafe scheme. The ban is so far-reaching that, for example, a supermarket manager could decide to stop a troublemaker from entering their store after a banning committee has banned him from licensed premises.
The banning procedure will operate independently of any court action and Pc Sears warned that the scheme, due to be launched within a few weeks, is expected to ban some people immediately when it comes into operation.
The banning committee, made up of licensees, will enforce a range of bans depending on the severity of the offence. Being drunk and disorderly will merit a warning letter or a three-month ban.
Threatening behaviour, an assault causing actual bodily harm and an assault causing grievous bodily harm will have more severe punishments. For drug offences there will be a statutory six-month ban. The licensed premises will be given a photograph of a banned person. An appeals committee will be set up to hear an appeal.
The reality facing a troublemaker is that they will receive a range of punishments for bad behaviour. Just breaking a shop window could lead to a court case with a fine and compensation, as well as the humiliation of being banned from every licensed premise and the circulation among licensees of their photograph.
Pc Sears said he hoped this would make people think twice when they went out for a night on the town.