New powers could tackle town’s street drinking issue

LG 110814  Street drinking, Littlehampton. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141108-093858001
LG 110814 Street drinking, Littlehampton. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141108-093858001

Concerns over street drinking have prompted councillors to consult on implementing new powers to crack down on antisocial behaviour.

Arun District Council’s cabinet agreed on Monday to launch a consultation over Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs), which would give police and council officers power to confiscate alcohol and disperse those likely to cause antisocial behaviour.

The powers would primarily target issues in Littlehampton town centre, though could extend across the district to Ferring, where a requirement to keep dogs on leads could also be introduced.

Cabinet member for community services Paul Wotherspoon said: “Feedback from some members of the public and shop owners has indicated that they believe street drinking in Littlehampton and Bognor Regis sparks antisocial behaviour, which is having a detrimental effect on those areas.

“However the introduction of any new measures will be subject to the resources available in a financially-challenging environment and agencies will need to work together to undertake effective enforcement action.”

The new powers are similar to the town’s existing Designated Public Place Order. A PSPO however, introduced through 2014 legislation, would carry a higher, £1,000 fine, upon successful prosecution.

Arun officers have also recommended adding dispersal powers, giving authority for those causing or likely to cause antisocial behaviour to be moved on.

Questions remain over who would enforce the powers, with a report to cabinet suggesting council officers would only use them on a targeted basis.

Sussex Police could provide assistance, but with diminishing resources ‘would like to see how other partners will provide enforcement capacity’.

Business wardens could also enforce them, but are only currently funded for a two-year pilot.

Take part in the three-month consultation at www.arun.gov.uk from June 20.

Alternatively, view hard copies at Arun Civic Centre, in Maltravers Road.