Plan to Make Borough Controlled Drinking Zone
Police to be given powers to confiscate alcohol
Hounslow Council is proposing to make the whole of the borough a Controlled Drinking Zone (CDZ). If the scheme proceeds the police will have extra powers to ask people to stop drinking and hand over alcohol in their possession. If met with refusal, fines of up to £500 could be levied.
Drinking in the open air would still be permitted provided there is no associated nuisance, annoyance or disorder taking place.
Councillors agreed at a recent Council meeting to begin a public consultation lasting four weeks on the plan.
There are currently five CDZ’s in operation within the borough, which were set up with the purpose of reducing levels of alcohol-related crime and antisocial behaviour. The current zones are in Feltham, Heston and Hounslow. Hammersmith and Fulham already is designated as a CDZ and police have enhanced powers in certain areas of Ealing borough.
The police are supporting the extension of these zones to the whole borough saying that, although they have been successful in tackling the problem of street drinking, some offenders have simply moved outside the zones.
Sergeant Treacy who manages the current Feltham Town Centre CDZ, said, “When utilised effectively, it is very useful. It hits people in the pocket by having their alcohol confiscated, and they learn quickly to avoid the area.
“It has been frustrating on occasion when repeat offenders gain knowledge of the zone and then continue to drink just outside. This has been evident on my ward where street drinkers congregate outside the zone. If it was borough wide this would prevent that scenario.”
Cllr Ed Mayne, cabinet member for community safety and regulatory services, said, "Let’s be clear, this is not about stopping people enjoying a drink in the park on a summer evening. This is about giving police the power to stop the anti-social behaviour that is often associated with excessive alcohol consumption in public places. The current CDZ’s we have in place have succeeded in reducing the amount of alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour."
Opposition councillors are not happy with the length of the consultation period and the failure to present the plan to the local ward forums.
The council will now run a consultation on the plans, giving residents the chance to share their views. Responses to this consultation will be included in a report back to the council to make a final decision on whether to proceed.
January 30, 2013