Alcohol-related anti-social behaviour down by a third in town since new police powers came in
PUBLISHED: 06:30 23 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:25 24 May 2019
A measure allowing police officers to confiscate drink from people in Great Yarmouth has seen the number of alcohol-related incidents in the town cut by a third in three years.
In 2016, an order was brought in to tackle anti-social behaviour linked to alcohol in parts of the town centre and the seafront.
This order gave the police the power to confiscate alcohol from disruptive drinkers and issue on-the-spot fines to those who refuse to relinquish them.
And with the order now up for renewal, the town's superintendent has revealed it has contributed to the number of incidents dropping by more than a third.
Between April 2018 and March 2019, 420 incidents relating to alcohol were reported in the town. The same period between 2015 and 2016 - before the order came in, produced 648.
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Roger Wiltshire, superintendent for Great Yarmouth Police has described the order as "an invaluable tool", calling for councillors to agree to its extension.
He said: "The police officers that cover the most affected location, the Market Place, state that it has become an invaluable tool to tackle anti-social behaviour before it starts and even the most persistent offenders have moderated their behaviour since this legislation was implemented."
Without this order we would see a rise again in the reports of anti-social behaviour linked to the public consumption of alcohol - especially in the Market Place, library area and other open spaces."
Next week, Great Yarmouth Borough Council will decide whether to continue the measure for a further three years - with it due to expire on Sunday, June 2.
The timing has meant the borough council was required to fast track consultation over the order, the responses of which will be heard at the meeting on Thursday, May 30 - three days before it expires.
Carl Smith, leader of the council, said: "Crucially, this is not a ban on drinking alcohol in public spaces, the focus is on tackling anti-social behaviour related to drinking.
"The option for people to drinking responsibly is retained, so someone could have some wine or beer in the park or on the beach and if they do not cause related anti-social behaviour this will not be a problem."