City centre drinking ban gets go-ahead in a bid to make our streets safer

editorial image
3
Have your say

Reports of people drinking and taking drugs on the city’s streets and urinating and defecating in alleyways have prompted a new order to be drawn up to protect Wakefield from anti-social behaviour.

Senior councillors at Wakefield Council gave the go-ahead to introduce the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in the city centre, at a meeting this week.

It will ban people from using intoxicating substances or urinating or defecating in a public place and aims to tackle intimidating and anti-social behaviour and reduce the number of people begging to fund habits.

Coun Maureen Cummings, cabinet member for environment and communities said: “Everyone has the right to feel safe and we’re quite clear anti-social behaviour must never be tolerated.”

The order gives council officers, police and PCSOs powers to issue penalty notices of up to £100 for anyone breaching the order.

Fines of up to £1,000 can also be handed out if an individual is prosecuted by the courts.

Coun Cummings, who represents the Crofton, Ryhill and Walton ward, said: “It is about us working together to try to make things a bit better.

“We will be calling on the public to engage with us to tell us where the hot spots are so that we can put the resources that we do have, and they will be minimal, into the areas that we need to put them in.

“We will then be discussing to see how we can maybe roll this out to the other main towns throughout the district.”

The council has also been working with police to try to make the district safer on a night-time.

They have been tackling drug and alcohol fuelled disorder, and conducting anti-drug operations, licensing visits and taxi checks.

A revised Licensing Policy was also approved by councillors last week, with introduce a “terminal hour” of 2am.

It means people applying to operate later than this time will have to show evidence of additional measures they will take to address potential alcohol fuelled crime and disorder.

Coun Olivia Rowley, cabinet member for children and young people and Wakefield East councillor added: “What’s happening in Wakefield city, for example, is that instead of having a reasonable time in which people should clear up and go home, some establishments are open all night.

“And when people leave at six o’clock in the morning, that’s when some of the issues are arising.”

Coun Cummings added: “I think licensing is the key to a lot of what’s happening in our centres and when we get that right I think then we will see a difference.”