FEARS of increased anti-social behaviour in Warwick district has prompted council chiefs to look to extend powers to deal with drunks and people getting high.
There is concern new pavement licensing laws will see more people drinking outside pubs and bars which could in turn lead to increased trouble.
Warwick District Council is therefore looking to extend its Public Spaces Protection (PSPO) Orders, which includes a Restricted Drinking Zone, and is calling on residents to give their views.
PSPOs are intended to deal with anti-social or nuisance behaviour in public spaces. One was introduced in 2017 in Warwick district and must be reviewed every three years.
The PSPO does not ban drinking in a public place unless there is, or there is likely to be, associated anti-social behaviour. A breach of the order only takes place when an person refuses to surrender their alcohol to a police officer or other designated enforcement officer.
The council also wants residents’ views on implementing an Intoxicating Substances PSPO – making it an offence for a person ‘without reasonable excuse to breach the PSPO in terms of ingestion, inhalation, injection, smoking or otherwise of an intoxicating substance’.
This aims to deal with people who take the likes of nitrous oxide, which is becoming an increasingly popular way for people to get high in the UK, with its telltale small silver cannisters a common sight littering streets and parks in the district.
A person guilty of an offence under this section of the order is liable on conviction to a fine of up to £1,000.
District health and community safety spokeswoman Coun Judy Falp said: “Public Spaces Protection Orders are designed to ensure that the law-abiding majority are able to enjoy our public spaces, safe from anti-social behaviour.
“The Restricted Drinking Zone has proven effective, with Street Marshals in Leamington able to confiscate alcohol from members of the public in the town centre and in doing so, reducing the possibility of anti-social behaviour.
“As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, when licensed premises return to trading we have been advised that the majority of businesses will be utilising additional outdoor spaces for customers to consume alcohol. This is likely to have an impact on the levels of alcohol related incidents across the district for the foreseeable future, and it is for this reason that we are proposing to maintain the current district-wide order for the next three years.
“I would encourage our residents to let us know their thoughts on the renewal of the PSPOs, and whether there are any areas of the district they are keen for us to focus on.”
Visit www.warwickdc.gov.uk/PSPOs to view the details of the Public Space Protection Order and to complete the survey.