Alcohol free zone in effect in Tooting

Published: Tuesday 31st July 12

Parts of Tooting and Graveney are now alcohol free zones after a plan to deal with problem street drinkers was rolled out yesterday (July 30).

A Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) came into force yesterday, which has meant that drinking on the street in parts of the two wards, including Tooting High Street, will no longer be allowed.

Constables and police community support officers now have the power to instruct people to stop drinking in designated public places - and if necessary confiscate their alcohol. Anyone refusing could face an on-the spot fine or prosecution in the magistrates court.The proposed area the zone would cover

Wandsworth Council and police secured approval for the zone following an increase in reports from local people about a hardcore group of street drinkers, who are the source of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour such as fighting, intimidation and urinating in public.

The zone covers Tooting High Street, Upper Tooting Road and extend south west to include Lambeth Cemetery, north west to include Streatham Cemetery and south east to include Rectory Lane (the full area can be seen in the accompanying map or see a higher resolution map here).

Councillor Jonathan Cook, the council's community safety spokesman, said: "I hope this move is warmly welcomed by local people and business owners and employees, who have reported that they have suffered intimidation as well as a loss of trade due to street drinkers loitering outside shops.

"The zone will help to bring an end to incidents of unpleasant and unacceptable behaviour.

"At the same time, we will of course be renewing efforts to enrol these street drinkers in alcohol treatment programmes.

"Through this combination of tactics we believe local people in the area will no longer experience the same level of nuisance."

The council, NHS Wandsworth and local police safer neighbourhood team have attempted to curb the problems caused by street drinkers by trying to help enrol them in alcohol treatment programmes.

Outreach workers from local drug and alcohol services - working closely with the police - have been encouraging people in street drinking groups to attend specially established drop in surgeries so that their overall health can be assessed and they can receive the help they need to control their drinking.

Leaflets in different languages are being distributed to tell people about what support is on offer, but also warning that the restrictions on drinking in public are coming into place. Signs are also being put up around the area this week.

Meanwhile, police have, where appropriate, referred street drinkers with housing issues to London Street Rescue, which has resulted in them either being housed or given temporary shelter.

Although the measures used so far have achieved some successes, a group of problem drinkers have made little or no effort to change their behaviour - prompting the introduction of the DPPO.

A DPPO - contained in The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 - is designed to tackle nuisance and annoyance caused by the consumption of alcohol in public places.

ENDS

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